The 1999 book by University of Massachusetts Professor Daphne Patai, "Heterophobia: Sexual Harassment and the Future of Feminism" (Rowman & Littlefield; $17), powerfully indicts what she labels the "Sexual Harassment Industry." Feminists have created a judicial world in which accusation equals guilt, and the distinction between severe offenses and trivial annoyances is erased.
RADAR's report explains that the definition of domestic has also been expanded. Originally, domestic meant a household member, but now it means a person with whom the woman "has been involved in an intimate relationship" (Colorado), people who are in a "dating or engagement relationship" (Rhode Island), or "any other person ... as determined by the court" (North Dakota).
How did it happen that state laws against domestic violence are written so broadly as to produce such absurdities? Family court judges issue 2 million temporary restraining orders every year, half of which are routinely extended, 85 percent are against men, and half do not include any allegation of violence but rely on vague complaints made without evidence.
Follow the money, both at the supply and the demand ends of the economic trail. The supply of 1,500 new domestic violence laws enacted by states from 1997 to 2005 is largely the handiwork of targeted lobbying by feminists funded by the multimillion-dollar federal boondoggle called the Violence Against Women Act. The act is blatantly gender discriminatory; as its title proclaims, it is designed to address only complaints by women. The Violence Against Women Act provides taxpayer funding to feminists to teach legislators, judges and prosecutors the stereotypes that men are batterers and women are victims.
The demand end of the economic chain is the fact that women know (and their lawyers advise them) that making allegations of domestic violence (even without proof or evidence) is the fastest and cheapest way to win child custody plus generous financial support. The financial incentives to lie or exaggerate are powerful.
Due process violations in the issuing of temporary restraining orders include lack of notice, no presumption of innocence, denial of poor defendants to free counsel while women are given taxpayer-funded support, denial of the right to take depositions, lack of evidentiary hearings, improper standard of proof, no need to be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, denial of the right to confront accusers, and denial of trial by jury.
Assault and battery are already crimes in every state without any need of the Violence Against Women Act. Temporary restraining orders empower activist family court judges to criminalize a vast range of otherwise legal behavior (usually a father's contact with his own children and entry into his own home), which are crimes only for the recipient of the order, who can then be arrested and jailed without trial for doing what no statute prohibits and what anyone else may lawfully do.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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