Thursday, February 28, 2013

New Hampshire legislator: 'People like being in abusive relationships'

As the Congress rangles over the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, we get a glimpse from New Hamspshire of what some lawmakers think of domestic violence.

“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 during a meeting of the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, according to Concord Monitor.

According to a video of the committee meeting, 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.”

According to the Monitor, there appeared to be little immediate reaction from committee members to Warden’s comments, based on the Granite State Progress video. Rep. Laura Pantelakos, the committee’s chairwoman, did tell Warden he was wrong that people are able to leave abusive relationships at any time.

“It didn’t dawn on them in the beginning,” Pantelakos said later in the day. “It wasn’t something they were expecting.”

Amanda Grady Sexton, director of public policy at the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, attended yesterday’s hearing.

“Rep. Warden’s comments point to an overall lack of education around the dynamics involved in a domestic violence relationship. It can be incredibly difficult for a victim of domestic violence to leave because of how much power and control their abuser has over their lives,” she wrote in an email to the Monitor. “The simple truth is no one enjoys being assaulted by an abuser – and for anyone to say otherwise speaks from a place of ignorance.”

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