Open Toilet Seats and Crime

Domestic disturbances and related calls are far too common for police.

Specifically, domestic incidents that actually result in the arrest of one or more parties are uncommon, as officers are more likely to act as negotiators and peace-makers to deflate family arguments.

French authorities have decided to take a new approach to dealing with relationship squabbles:

...France will become the first country in the world to ban ‘psychological violence’ within marriage.*

Insulting loved ones during domestic arguments could become a crime and partners who abuse their spouses in this way could end up with a criminal record under a new French law.

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said electronic tagging would be used on repeat offenders

Mr Fillon said: ‘It’s an important step forward as the creation of this offence will allow us to deal with the most insidious situations – situations that leave no visible scars, but which leave victims torn up inside.’

‘Psychological violence is a very serious matter, but punishing it through the courts is a very different matter altogether.’

Critics have also said the government should not be intervening in private domestic arguments in which no one got hurt.

Sociologist Pierre Bonnet said: ‘The next step will be to make rudeness a criminal offence. The police and courts will be over-stretched trying to deal with the numerous cases.’

Physical violence in domestics can be a complicated crime to investigate, but I can't imagine trying to sort through a "psychological violence" investigation.

In my opinion, trying to criminalize such behaviors is nonsensical.

What does psychological violence mean specifically? Does it require a specific pattern over time or can it be observed in one argument?

Can the investigating officer prosecute if the offense was not in his/her presence (as can be done with physical domestic violence)?

Depending on the definition of "psychological violence" by French politicians, my spouse offered five insulting and beyond irritating behaviors that may be applicable in building a future case against me:

5) Refuses to keep smelly running shoes away from general-family use areas.

4) Does not close lid on the toilet seat.

3) Forgets to remove "treasures" from pants pockets prior to placing them in the clothes hamper.

2) Uses the Mrs.'s razors when his are not within arm's reach.

And for the top reason:

1) Still tries to wear his sweatshirts from undergrad in public.

*Note: I initially saw this story on Vox Day's blog.


Confessions of a Mother, Lawyer & Crazy Woman said...

Number ONE: YES!!! Should be a felony. (We just had this conversation at our house ...)

Funny post, thanks for sharing.

angelcel said...

Interesting that you should refer to this today as it has been getting a quite a bit of coverage in discussion programmes over here in the last 48 hours. The bottom line is that while I think everyone accepts that emotional abuse can be extremely serious and damaging, I think that this will be an almost imposssible law to properly implement and to police. I see endless problems with the 'he said/she said scenario'.

And crumbs...I can see that your wife really has her hands full with you around! Tsk tsk tsk.... ;D

MONICA-LnP said...

not just you all husbands!

J. J. in Phila said...

Remind me to explain to the French the concept of "Playing the Dozens." :)

 ALH said...

An interesting article and discussion. It would be very difficult indeed to delve into the domestic squabbles of married life. I can see the intent of trying to negate damaging psychological violence in which one or the other spouse is beaten down to submission verbally and emotionally, but dealing with the matter seems next to impossible. There doesn't seem to be an efficient way of regulating any psychological behavior with policy.

Also, Thanks for your comment! I hope you find a treasure at a garage sale and find out it's worth a million on Antiques Roadshow (my absolute favorite show)!

Jeanette K. said...

It's going to be interesting to see how this law plays out. I have no doubt someone will try to make a case for all of the things that you've listed! Loved the image on this post, too. :)

mrsofficer said...

HAHAHAHA she has a good solid case against you, hope you rectify that. The razor thing errrr has happened to me! Seriosly Im going to take a picture of him using my pink daisy razor and put it in squad let the guys go at him. but then I would be the psychological abuser :( hmm........

Ann T. said...

Dear Slamdunk,
FLASH: Parisian psychiatrists have been drafted into a new "Domestique Abuse Securite'" force. Instead of being armed with Tasers or Glocks, they will have pipes, inflatable couches and carpet slippers.

The crimes will be: Oedipus I, II, III; Medea I, II, III and the failure to lower the toilet seat.

Should this failure result in a posterior-dunking by la femme, the offense goes from misdemeanor reckless endangerment to felony.

En garde!!

Ann T.
P.S. Thanks for another funny one!

Natalie said...

I guess on paper it sounds cool, but ultimately they have too much time on their hands NOT working out important problems so they choose a psychological approach. It's right up there with No Child Left Behind, but let's not open THAT can of worms!

It'll be interesting if this really takes into effect. I laughed when I read about the rudeness comment. Isn't that a defining characteristic of being French?! ;) Besides, everyone knows the French fight just so they can make-up afterwards, right?!

My Husband's Watching TV... said...

I agree with Mrs. Slam...don't use our razors! Great post!

wildstorm said...

Very interesting. And thank you so much for your visit to my blog and your kind comment on my last post.

BobKat said...

tinguouAll humorous and obvious issues aside with this post, I wish to focus on the points this legal announcement raises.

Despite the familiar "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt..." Words and such can hurt just as much!!!

Psychological abuse whether in a marriage, or a family can have devastating consequences. There is the affect to self-esteem, self-worth, and there is the psychological quandary with regards to those who grow up abused, tend to seek out abusive relations, or feel more "at home" in such relationships and can't seem to extricate themselves from such environments.

Myself, I grew up in a typical middle-class American family... I was picked on a lot in public school... and my parents were there for me. At the time that was so good... but when I came of age to leave the nest, it became clear that part of the reason I was such an easy target in school was that my mother was quite controlling. That only got much worse after I moved out on my own, and during my early 20's when my creative side flourished, the control escalated to the point that it became very much an issue of psychological abuse. Over the years - I've often fantasized about having my mother arrested, suing her, etc... but they're all pipe-dreams. The fact is... one can't divorce from one's family... but one can leave an abusive marriage... of at least in theory one can. The only solution to an abusive relationship is communication, and when that fails, as an adult, one must realize we need to take care of #1... and that may mean exercising our right to protect ourselves, as in, cutting off contact with abusive family, or simply learning to be an adult and control our weakness in letting ourselves be in a position where the abuse can take place.

The biggest problem may be lack of support in doing so, as friends or our system of support may see no bruises from psychological injury, and thus write it off, as compared to physical abuse.

As for a law that prosecutes abusers... this is a novel idea, but I can't see the practicality in it for many reasons... instead, I believe we as a society need to take a more objective look at how damaging this kind of abuse can really be. Words, like sticks and stones, can truly harm, and kill.

Thanks Slam...

thewarriorpoets said...

I have a friend in the German police force, and he has described how it's already illegal for one spouse to verbally insult another.

First, in the American justice system, convictions require proof beyond a reasonable doubt. We already struggle in prosecuting physical abuse cases, how much more difficult where it is words and feelings.

Second, emotional abuse is clearly wrong. But the State's attempt to legislate the interactions of private relationships is a worse injustice. But this news comes from a country that is attempting to outlaw someone's religious dress. Perhaps they have not read Animal Farm.

Raging Ranter said...

How can this possibly work? A team of psychiatrists? God help us all. How can such a law possibly be enforced? Leave it to the French to try. And fail.

Holly said...

That seems like an impossible crime to investigate (for most people) and prove. Wholly cow!

Oz Girl said...

Psychological abuse is very real, but I'm sorry, I just don't see how this law could possibly be enforced with any fairness!!

{You still wear your undergrad t-shirts??!! Your poor wife... LOL}