July 01, 2010

French Codify "Insults" as Crimes

(Paris, France) Sticks and stones may break your bones but words are now illegal in France.

Couples who insult each other over their physical appearance or make false accusations about infidelity face jail, under a new French law making "psychological violence" a criminal offence.

The law the first of its kind means that partners who make such insults or threats of physical violence faces up to three years in prison and a 75,000 (60,000) fine. []

Nadine Morano, the junior family minister, told the National Assembly that "we have introduced an important measure here, which recognises psychological violence, because it isn't just blows (that hurt), but also words."

Miss Morano said the primary abuse help line for French women got 90,000 calls a year, with 84 per cent concerning psychological violence. []

The bill, which has been unanimously approved by French MPs, defines mental violence as "repeated acts that could be constituted by words," including insults or repeated text messages that "degrade one's quality of life and cause a change to one's mental or physical state."

Therefore, the French word police will be enforcing some sort of no-insult policy. The law will also "experiment" with using ankle bracelets for serial insulters.

Critics suggest the law merely placates women's rights activists while creating significant unintended consequences. For example, it's believed that men will be able to beat their wives with impunity now by claiming psychological victimhood.

Of course, at the outset someone should clarify whether referring to French as "surrender monkeys" is now a crime. Surely, it's insulting to somebody.

By at 08:04 AM | Comments |