because sometimes original sources make things seem more reasonable and AHHHHHH NOOOOO. Not this time.
Victim: My (now-ex) husband imprisoned, physically assaulted, and raped me on numerous occasions during our short marriage. I would like a restraining order against him. [Warning: if you follow the link, please be aware that the victim's account of the abuse is really disturbing. D: ]
Police: Here’s various pictures taken at the hospital when she escaped after one of the assaults.
Defendant’s mother: He didn’t do it!
Defendant: Can I take the fifth? I’m taking the fifth.
Judge: Well, this sure looks like assault. But I’m not going to issue a restraining order and I’m not going to find for sexual assault, because the defendant believed that raping his wife wasn’t a criminal act.
Me: WTF? It matters whether or not he thought rape should be legal?
Appeals court: WTF? It doesn’t matter if he thought rape should be legal. It also doesn’t matter if raping his wife is permissible under his religion. IT’S AGAINST THE [expletive deleted]* LAW YOU [expletive deleted].
Legislature: In fact, we passed the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act specifically to say that it doesn’t [expletive deleted] MATTER WHAT YOUR [expletive deleted] SOCIETAL NORMS ARE ASSAULT IS A CRIME [expletive deleted].
Me: [hugs a legislator]
Precedent: Freedom of religion
does NOT mean you get to break the law whenever it conflicts with your beliefs.
Appeals Court: YEAH WHAT THEY SAID. Here’s
your restraining order. Geez.
Me: [hugs the Appeal Court too]
* I could not actually write about this without cursing, so I’ve edited out the swearing after the fact. You’re welcome.
It’s worth noting this was not the criminal trial, which I hope had a saner judge presiding. This case was filed under the state’s Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, whose purpose is to protect victims from their abusers, while criminal proceedings are mainly about punishing perpetrators in accordance with the law. This case also seems to demonstrate the need for if not the effectiveness of the PDVA. O.o
I’ve left out a bunch of details which others may feel are salient but which seem pretty irrelevant to me. Like that both members of the couple were Muslims and citizens of Morocco in the US on the husband’s worker’s visa. Or that their iman would not actually say that raping your wife is wrong in the eyes of his religion, although he did admit that it’s a crime in New Jersey. Or that the husband executed the divorce despite the wife’s protests. Or … whatever, I don’t really care because none of it matters. HI WELCOME TO AMERICA RAPE IS A CRIME HERE. Have a nice day.