Nick Clegg’s Orwellian redefinition of domestic violence

According to Clegg, the Government is rethinking domestic violence to mean “suffering at the hands of people who are meant to care for you”. But that is not domestic violence. It is something else. I can’t see any good coming from this Orwellian overhaul of the meaning of the words “domestic” and “violence” and of the phrase “domestic violence”. It won’t be of any help to those who suffer actual violence in the home, whose experiences will now be reduced to being pretty much the same as the teenage girl whose boyfriend is emotionally full-on, or the teenage boy whose girlfriend tries to control his behaviour, perhaps by checking his text messages or forbidding him from using Facebook. The seriousness of domestic violence – that is, violent acts committed in a domestic setting – will be watered down through being put on a par with what are effectively the everyday emotional ups and downs of heated relationships.

And the redefinition of domestic violence also won’t benefit teenagers, who will find their love lives coming under greater state scrutiny. In effect, we are witnessing the pathologisation, even potential criminalisation, of the pretty normal ambiguities of teenage love. Teenage relationships are messy and complicated, which isn’t surprising considering the emotional immaturity of many of those who enter into them. There is a lot about teenage relationships that could easily be termed “emotional abuse” – from the boyfriend who callously forbids his girlfriend from hanging out with certain people to the young spurned guy who foolishly bombards his ex with hateful text messages. But is any of this domestic violence? No, it isn’t; it is teenage life, which can often be unpleasant, but which people generally survive.

Redefining such experiences as “domestic violence”, and presenting them as things that require the attention and intervention of the authorities, potentially throws open all intimate relationships to the beady eye of the state. It also effectively tells teenagers that they cannot possibly navigate love and lust and emotional confusion on their own, and instead need Nick Clegg or one of his minions to assist them – which is a terribly disempowering message to send to those who are becoming adult and finding their way in life. The overhaul of domestic violence is nothing to do with women’s rights; rather, it speaks to the Government’s definitional idiocy and its itching desire to keep an eye on pretty much every intimate relationship in the land.

via No one will benefit from Nick Clegg’s Orwellian redefinition of domestic violence, least of all women – Telegraph Blogs.

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