Wednesday, April 02, 2008

What Is Our Dysfunction?

What is it with the Maryland judiciary? Normally, I love my home state. But for some reason, our courts seem utterly incapable of acknowledging that women have bodily autonomy and a right not to be abused. First, they held that a woman couldn't withdraw consent for sexual intercourse after the initial act of penetration, because the only actual harm of rape is the "deflowering". Then a judge dismissed a case where a cop had observed a man assaulting his girlfriend because some people enjoy sadomasochism. And today, we hear of a delightful case where a woman was denied a restraining order against her mentally instable husband who had threatened to kill their kids because she was "still having sex with him." The problem? The woman had testified that
she had sex with her husband because she was frightened of him and was worried that if she didn't, he would "assume something was wrong" and suspect that she was trying to get a restraining order against him.

This is in the news because the kids now are, in fact, dead -- drowned by this woman's husband before he attempted to commit suicide.

One can call this case a tragedy, and it is, but it's also emblematic of Maryland's failure to adequately protect woman who are in dangerous and abusive relationships. Often times, abuse is difficult to combat because the victims don't seek help. This woman did, and was stymied at every turn.

Via Feministing

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