Restraining Orders Hurt Women
Grace Krejci of West Allis, Wis. took out a
restraining order on her separated husband. Last
week the deranged man broke into her house because
their 5-year-old son hadnt been picked up at
school. Minutes later Grace lay dead of a bullet
Toni Brown of Washington, DC had an order of
protection, believing that would ward off the
escalating threats by her former live-in
girlfriend. Then a late-night attack rendered her
respirator-dependent, thanks to a close-range
gunshot in the back of her neck.
Abused men also have been victimized by these
legal devices like Mauricio Droguett who was
fatally stabbed by his ex-wife in an Iowa shopping
mall, despite the existence of a restraining order
cradled in his pocket.
Maybe its time for a sanity check.
By what crazy logic do persons believe that
inscribing the words, Order of
Protection on a sheet of 20-pound paper is
going to deter a would-be assailant who is intent
on maiming his or her victim?
How can judges dole out such orders when no
research shows they do any good in stopping
And when persons with restraining orders keep
getting assaulted, what possesses lawmakers to
enact even more laws designed to make these flawed
tools widely available?
Samuel Goldberg, a Boston attorney who
specializes in partner abuse cases, notes that
restraining orders are awarded so casually that
this is why they are not taken as seriously
as they should be. The Independent
Womens Forum likewise decries these legal
tropes as lulling women into a false sense of
Restraining orders not only are ineffective,
they can also escalate partner conflict. In its
Family Legal Guide, the American Bar Association
warns, a court order might even add to the
[alleged offenders] rage.
This wrath is understandable in light of the
fact that some women use restraining orders as a
weapon to harass and entrap unwary men.
Consider the Panama City, Fla. woman who took
out a restraining order against her ex-husband. On
November 17 she was ordered to appear in court for
a child support hearing. Fearful she might be
incarcerated, she texted her husband, pleading that
he attend the proceeding so their 18-month-old
daughter would be taken care of.
As soon as the father stepped into the
courtroom, the conniving woman advised the court of
the injunction, occasioning his immediate
It turns out that misuse of restraining orders
is widespread. Elaine Epstein, former president of
the Massachusetts Bar Association, has admitted,
Everyone knows that restraining orders and
orders to vacate are granted to virtually all who
In many cases, allegations of abuse are
now used for tactical advantage.
A 1995 study conducted by the Massachusetts
Trial Court reviewed the domestic restraining
orders issued in that state. The survey found that
less than half of the orders involved even an
allegation of violence. And a West Virginia study
found eight out of 10 of orders were unnecessary or
So if restraining orders arent worth the
paper theyre written on, what can abuse
victims who fear for their lives do to protect
Consider Maria Terrones, 45, who was killed two
weeks ago in Fairfield, Calif. The suspected
assailant, her former boyfriend, squeezed the
trigger as she was walking outside with her new
heart-throb at 1:15am. Even though she too had a
restraining order prohibiting any form of contact,
she had fallen into an argument with her ex- in the
parking lot just hours before the shooting.
So instead of giving her false reassurance in
the form of an order of protection, Terrones would
have been better served with a detailed Safety Plan
that warned her to not engage in any verbal
confrontations with her ex-, and advised her
against late-night strolls in public areas.
Each year 2-3 million domestic restraining
orders are issued for the ostensible purpose of
curbing domestic violence: www.saveservices.org/downloads/VAWA-Restraining-Orders
In reality, such orders are a well-intentioned but
misguided hold-over from our nations
overblown War on Crime, handsomely underwritten at
According to an October 13 Gallup poll, 46% of
Americans believe our government poses an
immediate threat to the rights and freedoms
of ordinary citizens. There is no better
example of governmental power run amok than our
legal systems unreserved and undeserved
reliance on abuse restraining orders.
* * *
Roberts probes and lampoons political correctness.
His work has been published frequently in the
Washington Times, Townhall.com, LewRockwell.com,
ifeminists.net, Intellectual Conservative, and
elsewhere. He is a staff reporter for the New Media
Network. You can contact him at E-Mail
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