Disclaimer

By accessing this blog, you agree to the following terms:

Nothing you see here is intended or offered as legal advice. The author is not an attorney. These posts have been written for educational and information purposes only. They are not legal advice or professional legal counsel. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship between this blog, the author, or the publisher, and you or any other user. Subscribers and readers should not act, or fail to act, upon this information without seeking professional counsel.

This is not a safe space. I reserve the right to write things you may agree or disagree with, like or dislike, over which you may feel uncomfortable or angry, or which you may find offensive. I also don't speak for anyone but myself. These are my observations and opinions. Don't attribute them to any group or person whose name isn't listed as an author of a post on this blog.

Reading past this point is an acknowledgement and acceptance of the above terms.

VAWA and stalking

Here's an example of one of the fundamental flaws in the current incarnation of VAWA: broad terms which encompass more than violence in their definitions. In its provisions on stalking, the bill treats upsetting someone as an act of violence... even when it occurs online, with no limit as to how and where this stipulation may apply.

Text from stalking section as listed on LLI, since Congress's THOMAS system doesn't work
(I've made pertinent segments bold for emphasis.)

Sec. 2261A. Stalking

Whoever--
(1) travels in interstate or foreign commerce or is present within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, or enters or leaves Indian country, with the intent to kill, injure, harass, intimidate, or place under surveillance with intent to kill, injure, harass, or intimidate another person, and in the course of, or as a result of, such travel or presence engages in conduct that--
(A) places that person in reasonable fear of the death of, or serious bodily injury to--
(i) that person;
(ii) an immediate family member (as defined in section 115) of that person; or
(iii) a spouse or intimate partner of that person; or
(B) causes, attempts to cause, or would be reasonably expected to cause substantial emotional distress to a person described in clause (i), (ii), or (iii) of subparagraph (A); or
(2) with the intent to kill, injure, harass, intimidate, or place under surveillance with intent to kill, injure, harass, or intimidate another person, uses the mail, any interactive computer service or electronic communication service or electronic communication system of interstate commerce, or any other facility of interstate or foreign commerce to engage in a course of conduct that--
(A) places that person in reasonable fear of the death of or serious bodily injury to a person described in clause (i), (ii), or (iii) of paragraph (1)(A); or

(B) causes, attempts to cause, or would be reasonably expected to cause substantial emotional distress to a person described in clause (i), (ii), or (iii) of paragraph (1)(A), shall be punished as provided in section 2261(b) of this title.'.

(c) Interstate Violation of Protection Order- Section 2262(a)(2) of title 18, United States Code, is amended by inserting 'is present' after 'Indian Country or'.
Looking up the legal definition of harassment (unwanted, unwelcomed and uninvited behavior that demeans, threatens or offends the victim and results in a hostile environment for the victim) will tell you that to be meet that definition, an individual claiming to be a victim merely has to establish that 1) the accuser objected to the behavior, 2) the accused didn't stop.

U.S. Legal's definition of Intimidation states
Intimidation means to make fearful or to put into fear. Generally, proof of actual fear is not required in order to establish intimidation. It may be inferred from conduct, words, or circumstances reasonably calculated to produce fear.
Because subsection (2) of section 2261A. (stalking) includes when this behavior occurs via electronic communication - specifically any interactive computer service or electronic communication service, the complainant doesn't even have to establish that the accused sought her out. Under this definition, any discussion in any forum under any circumstances would qualify as an environment in which a person engaging in interpersonal communication could be accused of stalking. In fact, screenshots may fall under this category, as well, if the individual whose post is being recorded and posted objects, even if the original posts were publicly visible.

We have seen how lightly and easily the violence against women act has been abused in the past.

Sit back for a moment, and think about this: This text essentially makes any discussion online potential fodder for a legal accusation. Abuse of this section of the law will be easy to commit, and difficult to combat. How do you prove that you didn't intend to offend someone you were arguing with? How do you determine for the court how your opponent should feel about your replies in a debate?

How long do you think it will take for opponents of the MRM to start using this as a tool for stifling debate where gender issues are discussed? Is code orange about to grow some teeth?

No comments:








google-site-verification: googlefdd91f1288e37cb4.html