Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Telling your wife she's not pretty may soon be an offence

I quite agree with this proposed amendment to the Domestic Violence Act 1994. Physical violence is only part of the problem. The psychological scars of verbal abuse is a material issue.

There is nothing humorous about this although, admittedly, I had many sly and curling remarks swimming in my mind. It's better to leave such thoughts in the privacy of the mind...until some scientist idiot invents the dreaded mind-reading device, that is....

By the way, I am obliged to point out that the legislation applies to both husband and wife and others as defined. An abusive wife saying that the husband is not handsome can get into trouble too!

The current definition of "domestic violence" is:

"domestic violence" means the commission of any of the following acts:

(a) wilfully or knowingly placing, or attempting to place, the victim in fear of physical injury;

(b) causing physical injury to the victim by such act which is known or ought to have been known would result in physical injury;

(c) compelling the victim by force or threat to engage in any conduct or act, sexual or otherwise, from which the victim has a right to abstain;

(d) confining or detaining the victim against the victim's will; or

(e) causing mischief or destruction or damage to property with intent to cause or knowing that it is likely to cause distress or annoyance to the victim,

by a person against-

(i) his or her spouse;

(ii) his or her former spouse;

(iii) a child;

(iv) an incapacitated adult; or

(v) any other member of the family: .

Star Online reported:

A husband tells his wife that she is no longer pretty in an attempt to humiliate her can be classified as an emotional violence offence if amendments are made to the Domestic Violence Act (DVA)1994.

The plan is to amend the DVA for the inclusion of a clause on emotional violence against women.

Currently, they are only protected only against physical abuse, Women's Development Department director-general Datuk Dr Noorul Ainur Mohd Nur said.

She said on Wednesday that the aim for proposing the amendment was to safeguard women both physically and emotionally.

Dr Noorul said emotional violence was a form of abuse that would deeply scar a woman and lower their self-esteem, dignity and self-confidence.

“It could be a case where her husband tells his wife she is ugly or humiliates her until she feels emotionally pressured,” she told reporters at the end of a seminar on how to curb violence against women at Wisma Wanita here.

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