Founded in 1974, the Women’s Center was established to:
Dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Advocate for an equitable environment free from violence and harassment based on gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Create an anti-racist, non-sexist, queer-affirmative space where all people can feel valued and safe.
Facilitate and strengthen connections among people across lines of difference through programming and educational campaigns.
Integrate an appreciation of Women's Gender and Multicultural Studies across the disciplines.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Domestic Violence Bills That Make No Sense

Two new bills proposed in New Hampshire would severely affect the handling of domestic violence cases, making it much more difficult to stop abusers and protect survivors.

The first, House Bill 1581, would be a huge blow to the power police officers have when responding to a domestic abuse call. The officer would have to witness the actual abuse happening or leave to get a warrant to arrest an abuser, rather than using clear evidence and their own common sense.

The second, House Bill 1608, would affect how abusers with restraining orders against them are dealt with by police. Instead of being able to arrest someone for violating his or her restraining order, the person in question would only be able to be arrested if they violated the restraining order THREE times.

I am honestly shocked by the message that these bills send and the effects they would have on people involved in abusive relationships. For a state that has some of the strongest domestic abuse laws in the nation, New Hampshire is on the brink of trading that status for laws that would limit the chances of survivors to escape their situation as well as put them in harm's way. I cannot conceive of a way in which these bills would actually reduce domestic violence or properly deal with the perpetrators of this abuse; both bills would make it easier for abusers to escape arrest and prosecution, as well as keep survivors of violence trapped in situations where their abusers could easily continue to inflict pain and suffering upon them. One instance of abuse is too much, and these laws would give abusers the ability to continue to do so, so long as they don't get caught three times (Because we all know that no instance of violence is really severe enough to warrant an arrest if it's only the first or second documented violation, right?) or do it before the police show up to witness the violence.

Here's hoping that these bills are not signed into law, because they would be a serious setback to dealing with domestic abuse that put innocent lives on the line.

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