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Posted by on Jan 6, 2010 in International, Society | 1 comment

France Moves to Ban “Psychological Violence” in Marriage

Britain’s Daily Mail:

Married couples in France could end up with criminal records for insulting each other during arguments.

Under a new law, France is to become the first country in the world to ban ‘psychological violence’ within marriage.

The law would apply to cohabiting couples and to both men and women.

Would this mean no trash talking during fantasy football season?

While it seems initially like a good idea, and while real “psychological violence” can be incredibly abusing and ought to be addressed, I have my concerns. Who is to say what amounts to such violence and what doesn’t? That is, who is to say what is criminal and what isn’t? Couples fight and shout and say things that shouldn’t be said, after all, and sometimes things can get nasty. That’s normal, isn’t it? Yes, it can go too far, but the risk is that the law could be far too broadly applied, with the state intruding into people’s private lives, including into their bedrooms, with heavy-handed Orwellianism.

So while a man or woman should probably have some legal recourse in the event he or she is abused in this way, and while there may be occasion for the state to intervene with criminal charges, this is a delicate area where the state should be careful to tread. The intent may be admirable, but this law, it seems to me, fails to account for the nature of the intense, intimate relationships between consenting adults (if one partner doesn’t consent, that’s another matter). To the extent that the law is even implementable, it’s a potential quagmire of abuse and misuse.

(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)

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