What is NOT Domestic Violence?

Husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends, have arguments. This should not, however,  justify a trip to jail and a criminal conviction with lifetime penalties.

Human beings make mistakes, cause accidents, and act immaturely at times. Everyone has past conduct they wish could be taken back. Part of being human is sometimes hurting those loved the most. The absurdity is to classify a single, out-of-character, nonviolent act as “criminal.”

For instance, it is not domestic violence to:

• Yell and scream at our boyfriend/girlfriend, spouse, or another family or household member, even if the neighbors hear it;

• Use profanity during an argument with a boyfriend/girlfriend, spouse, or family or household member;

• Engage in minor pushing incidents with a boyfriend/girlfriend, spouse, or family or household member;

• Engage in consensual sex that may be loud or rough, e.g., see The Joy of Sex;

• Engage in horseplay, wrestling matches, and pillow fights or similar mock combat even if accidents result;

• Hold the arm or hand of a boyfriend/girlfriend, spouse, or family or household member while arguing;

• Restrain an intimate partner to prevent them from hurting themselves or another family or household member;

• Momentarily block the path of a boyfriend/girlfriend, spouse, or family or household member;

• Throw and break items during an argument, or engage in consensual S&M;

• Awake violently from a nightmare, or react violently when someone awakens you suddenly;

• Say hurtful and mean things to a intimate partner, spouse, or family or household member;

• Use self defense to stop a boyfriend/girlfriend, spouse, or family or household member from attacking you.

• Serve, or have served in the Armed Forces of the United States, nor is such service a reasonable basis for “fear” in a rational and sane individual.

With “Zero Tolerance” arrest policies and “No Drop” prosecutions, the number of arrests for petty family arguments has skyrocketed. A former prosecuting attorney explains the phenomena:

“Christopher Pagan, who was until recently a prosecutor in Hamilton County, Ohio, estimates that due to a 1994 state law requiring police on a domestic call either to make an arrest or to file a report explaining why a no arrest was made, “domestics ” went from 10 percent to 40 percent of his docket. But, he suggests, that doesn’t mean actual abusers were coming to his attention more often. “We started getting a lot of push-and-shoves,” says Pagan, “or even yelling matches. ” In the past, police officers would intervene and separate the parties to let them cool off. Now those cases end up in criminal courts. It’s exacerbating tensions between the parties, and it’s turning law-abiding middle class citizens into criminals.”

One Response to What is NOT Domestic Violence?

  1. Your comment that it is not DV to holds one hand or arm during an argument is support by this – it is a common practice to speaking to young children to hold both of their arms, get down to their level, and speak to them about an issue at hand. This is engaging them in discussion, and ensuring that you are speaking to them one on one.

    I don’t see a differerence.

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