Stick and Stones May Break My Bones, But Words Will Get You Three Years in France

Having solved the pesky problem of working too hard, France moved to protect its citizens from facing - get this - insults (erhm, "psychological violence"):

This means that couples who insult each other repeatedly could now be charged and face up to three years in prison. [...]

The law defines mental violence as "repeated acts which could be constituted by words or other machinations, to degrade one's quality of life and cause a change to one's mental or physical state".

"We have introduced an important measure here, which recognises psychological violence, because it isn't just blows (that hurt) but also words," Nadine Morano, the minister for family affairs, told the lower house of parliament.

Those found guilty of breaking the new law will face up to three years in jail and a 75,000 euro (£60,840) fine.

"The judge could (also) take into consideration letters, SMSs or repetitive messages, because one knows that psychological violence is made up of insults," Ms Morano said.


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I think that, though it has wonderful implications, it'll probably have a negative impact. Just like physical abuse laws have made the line somewhat unclear in disciplining children, this will make it vaguely illegal to jokingly insult someone. I think it'll ultimately do good.

As for the way the article is written: it's pretty shameful that they gloss over the issue with "OMG STOOPID EMOSHUNAL FRENCHIES." Taking things out of context is one thing, but blatantly misconstruing a law meant to protect and aid is entirely another.
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One should take the words of the judge in context. Yes, insults make up psychological violence, at least in part. Calling someone an expletive over and over again certainly doesn't represent harmony, that's for sure.

And much like protons, neutrons and electrons make up atoms, which in turn make up that which we know as "matter" I would consider this an elementary but not an exclusive part of the actual issue. And in that sense the stipulation is perfectly acceptable.

Some countries don't write "This medication causes drowsiness" as a warning label on sleeping tablets. So let's not mock France for laws that actually make sense.
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The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Yes, abuse doesn't have to be physical to hurt the victim, but when you create a law that is so vague as this one, it is bound to create more problems.

Re: "insult" - please read the article. Nicole Kagan, the minister for family affairs who *introduced* the measure said "The judge could (also) take into consideration letters, SMSs or repetitive messages, because one knows that psychological violence is made up of insults" (emphasis mine)

There is a big difference between hate speech, verbal abuse, and insults. The point of the post isn't to trivialize those in abusive relationship (both men and women) but how do you prove "psychological violence?"

@Geoduck - actually, the unemployment in France remains at a stubborn 10% despite the 35-hour work week. The unemployment for young people is worse, at 20%. Presumably, it's because businesses loathe to hire new workers yet cannot fire the old ones.
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@Le Putsch : you're wrong. Aubry 1 and 2 limited strictly the amount of hours yearly done by a worker, with the monthly limit of 35 hours per week. This limits includes also the other pre-existing limiting laws, such as the max time in a day, of the max days without a day off.
So yes, you could work like crazy on a day but no more than 10 hours, you could work crazy on a week, but no more than 48 hours (44 hours on a 3 week average), etc.
It's ok to argue, but please get your info straight.

Another cultural difference : for example when you take the Mass turnpike, or the tunnel from the Logan airport in Boston you have a human cashier.
On another example I dare you to find any human on the French ASF highway (off season)... Increasing the cost of work works against our own interest sometimes.
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