New Hampshire legislators are debating a bill that would “reduce simple assault from a misdemeanor crime to a violation-level offense in any case of “unprivileged physical contact” that “does not result in harm or injury.”
Why? You ask. Because, according to state Rep. Mark Warden, some people like being abused.
“Some people could make the argument that a lot of people like being in abusive relationships. It’s a love-hate relationship. It’s very, very common for people to stick around with somebody they love who also abuses him or her,” said Rep. Mark Warden, a Republican who represents Deering, Goffstown and Weare, during a meeting of the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, according to a video provided by Granite State Progress, a liberal advocacy group.
According to the video, Warden added, “Is the solution to those kind of dysfunctional relationships going to be more government, another law? I’d say no. People are always free to leave.”
The overwhelming majority of those who remain in abusive relationships do so because of the difficulty of leaving them. Passing a bill that would reduce the penalty for incidents of domestic violence only further increases the problem.
Unless I am reading this incorrectly, the bill would reduce penalties for assault as long as there are no visible bruises left behind. At least that seems to be the thinking of Rep. Frank Sapareto who introduced the bill because current law punishes assailants for “minor incidents where no harm was done.”
We should consider the possibility that Mark Warden and Frank Sapareto are simply projecting elements of their own lives into the debate.