Fatherhood Coalition

Do Restraining Orders Cause Domestic Violence?

By Mark Charalambous, Massachusetts News, September, 2000

Victims' advocates were all over the media wringing their hands over the state's latest tragic domestic homicide last month. "Do restraining orders work?" inquired Jim Broudy, WTKK FM's liberal afternoon talk show host. Along with guest co-host Atty. Wendy Murphy, victim-feminist extraordinaire, Broudy fielded calls from sympathetic loyal listeners several days after the gruesome murder was reported.

Bruce Gellerman, NPR's "Here and Now" talk show host, later contacted the Fatherhood Coalition asking for someone willing to answer the same question on a segment showcasing the expert opinions of Battered Women's Resources spokesperson, Nancy Scannell, and the aforementioned Murphy. 

They still don't get it. 

Obviously, if the question is "Will a restraining order prevent a women from being harmed or even killed," the answer is clearly, "Of course not!" If someone wants to commit murder, how is a piece of paper going to stop them? Are they going to not commit the act because they will be fined $1000 and sentenced to 2 1/2 years in jail?

Broudy, Gellerman and Murphy etc. are asking the wrong question. The right question is, "Do restraining orders cause domestic violence, even homicide?" Or, more precisely, "Are restraining orders causing violence that would not have happened had there not been a 209A issued?" That is, are people being driven to violence by the effects of the restraining order law?

After hearing from countless innocent fathers who have been victimized by this fatally flawed law, chapter 209A of the Massachusetts General Laws, it is clear that the answer to both questions is an emphatic "Yes." 

Restraining orders are causing real domestic violence. 

Do not misunderstand me. I am not defending anyone's violent acts, especially homicide. I know nothing of the details of the Harvard educated dermatologist's situation. I am merely raising the point that the politically correct talking heads refuse to acknowledge: the zealous application of this flawed law is not only failing to protect true victims, but it is directly causing real domestic violence.

A little background may be necessary for those that have no first- or second-hand experience with 209A. The law was originally drafted to protect women from violence in the home. In its present form, it not only runs roughshod over any due process protections for the men accused, it is also used to prosecute people, mainly men, for actions which 1) are perceived as threatening by the alleged (female) victim, and 2) have not yet happened, but may happen. 

Radical feminists have constructed elaborate 'dangerousness assessment' tests that reduce to gender profiling: Men are always dangerous, while female malfeasance is rationalized and excused.

In divorce, "irreconcilable differences" are often forged by 209A restraining orders into devastating legal vendettas that wreak havoc on all parties, including the children. Far from being a means to effect a "cooling off" period, as judges and battered women's advocates contend, they are fire-starters.

Thus, women intent on "giving him a lesson he'll never forget," can use this law to throw a man out of his own home, take away his legal rights to even see his children, and set the stage for the financial rape that will follow by virtue of being in possession of the marital home, kids, and property.
All of this is based on her statement that she has "fear" of him. No claim of actual violence is required.

And you want to know why some men are flying off the handle? Until you have been in this situation, you don't know what "angry" is.
I'm not talking about actual batterers, of whom there may not be nearly as many as the battered women's advocates wish us to believe, though even that's too many. No, I'm talking about the understandable anger that comes from being unjustly accused and found guilty of often extremely heinous acts, such as sexual molestation of one's own children - and then losing all the things that are dear to you in addition.

You see, in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, we've done one better than "1984." We don't just prosecute for "thought" crimes. We prosecute based on the thoughts of someone else.

It is at once stunning and chilling to hear Wendy Murphy advocate for legislation to "improve" the state's stalking law. Based on the new language, the actual acts that constitute stalking are not even defined. All that matters is the perception of the alleged stalkee. If a woman says she feels stalked, he's guilty.

For those readers who still don't get the message, let me spell it out for you. These victim-defined laws, domestic violence protection and stalking, are a blueprint for a police state. If you are a man caught up in the gears of retributional gender justice, you already know you're living in a police state. Just ask Jim Brodeur (not his real name). He was on trial for violating the 209A order his ex-wife held against him based on fabricated allegations that his children had seen him. During the trial, his ex-wife, who must have been "paralyzed with fear" to use the language of Murphy, moved within three blocks of his home.

In another recent case, Steven Cook of Needham, who was jailed for sixty days for calling his daughter on a Monday instead of a Sunday, took his own life soon after his release in April this year.

Bill Leisk just served a 30-day sentence for buying tickets to Hawaii for his three daughters. Originally sharing custody of the children in Hawaii, he relocated to Massachusetts to be with his children after his ex-wife moved here. Incidentally, this 'victim,' another woman "paralyzed with fear," asked Leisk to watch the children when she went to get her restraining order.

Listening to Murphy hold court, on domestic violence and stalking, chills me to the bone. You should be scared too. Listen closely. This is not the voice of social justice and progress. It's the voice of social engineering and state terrorism.

Mark Charalambous is a member of the Fatherhood Coalition.

Return to CPF home page