Monday, May 14, 2012

Unmarried Victims of Domestic Violence Get No Legal Protections

North Carolina:
a place where a battered woman
cannot be granted a protective order, 
unless they are married to her abuser.
by Dick Mac

In North Carolina. only married people are considered to have a "personal relationship" when it comes to application of state law.

Under North Carolina’s 50B statute, victims of domestic violence are only those people who have a “personal relationship” with the perpetrator. If there is no "personal relationship" then there can be no protective order.  The victim is on her own.

Previously, in North Carolina, "personal relationship" included  a spouse or former spouse, current or former housemates, unmarried straight couples who live or have lived together, parents who have a child in common, or people in a dating relationship with a member of the opposite sex.  In North Carolina, it has been impossible for two people of the same sex to have a legally-defined "personal relationship."  Only straight couples were covered.

When North Carolinians passed Amendment One last week, they passed a law that re-defines “Personal Relationship” as a term that describes only legally-married people.

A similar law was previously passed in Virginia.  Courts in Virginia can no longer issue a protective order for a victim of domestic abuse unless the couple is married.  In Virginia, a girl cannot get a protective order to protect her from an abusive boyfriend.  This means that the police will do nothing to help this girl until the boyfriend commits a crime (like killing her), and gets caught, and is convicted.

North Carolina is now a place where, like Virginia, any boy can physically, mentally, and emotionally terrorize his girlfriend until he is caught breaking the law.  It is only if he breaks a law that the police will stop him from abusing his victim.  If he is not caught breaking the law, he can continue on doing exactly what he chooses.

It will be interesting to watch the North Carolina courts scramble to protect an unmarried middle-class white woman from domestic violence, since there is no law that protects her.  It will be interesting to see if any criminals currently on trial for violation of a protective order will now walk away from the charges if the order was  issued to protect an unmarried person.  You see, as of the passage of Amendment One, all 50B rulings for the protection of unmarried persons are nullified.

Just after passage of the similar law in Virginia, shelters filled with single mothers and their children who needed protection.  Shelters were now their only protectors because the protective orders that allowed law enforcement agencies to protect them were no longer in effect.  The most vulnerable people in Virginia now need to rely on charitable organizations to keep them safe from violence, because the courts and police are not allowed to.

North Carolina joins Virginia as a place where law enforcement is not allowed to protect victims of domestic violence, unless the victim is married to the perpetrator.

Well, that will sure protect the institution of marriage in North Carolina!  You keep women married to abusive husbands because once they divorce, they are not protected!  Nice.

Oh, and gay people can't get married.  Good job, North Carolina!

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