Let’s just change the wording

From last week: Trump and his goons changed the definition of domestic violence so that there will be less of it to do anything about.

The Trump administration quietly changed the definition of both domestic violence and sexual assault back in April but the move has only just surfaced.

The change could have significant repercussions for millions of victims of gender-based violence.

That is, victims of violence against women. The “gender” in question is female.

The Trump Justice Department’s definition only considers physical harm that constitutes a felony or misdemeanour to be domestic violence – meaning other forms of domestic violence such as psychological abuse, coercive control and manipulation no longer fall under the department’s definition. 

Lisa Page, anyone? DoJ employee hounded out by non-criminal psychological abuse from the president of the United States?

Holly Taylor-Dunn, a senior lecturer at the University of Worcester who has been working in the field of domestic and sexual violence for 17 years, said she was shocked by the move.

The academic, who has worked in frontline roles in the domestic violence sector and used to be a domestic abuse officer for the police, argued the Trump administration’s decision turned the clock back 50 years. 

“I was massively surprised and really shocked,” she said. “It is quite scary how quietly it has happened. It is a massive step backwards. We have literally gone back to the 70s. We have worked so hard since the 60s and 70s to get domestic abuse and sexual violence understood as being about more than physical violence. Changing the definition to take it back to being about physical harm completely undermines what domestic abuse is about”.

Dominance doesn’t necessarily ever raise a finger; it doesn’t have to. If you’re visibly carrying a gun, you don’t have to wave it around all the time; just the visible presence is quite enough to intimidate.

Suzanne Jacob, of UK domestic violence charity Safe Lives, said: “These changes are a huge step backwards that will have very real consequences for victims and survivors of domestic abuse in the States.

“Wherever you live, if you’ve experienced domestic abuse or listened to those who have, you know all too well that physical violence is never the whole picture – and many survivors tell us that the emotional and psychological abuse takes much longer to recover from.”

There is also the fact that dominance aka psychological abuse can be a step toward physical violence.

Some 43.5 million women have experienced “psychological aggression” from an intimate partner in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than half of women murdered each year in the US are killed by an intimate partner.

The two are not separated as if by a gulf.

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