France Makes Calling Your Spouse Nasty Names A Crime

The French parliament has approved a hotly debated law that makes verbal abuse—or psychological violence—a criminal offense. Violators could face up to three years in jail and a $93,000 fine. Although it’s difficult to define such behavior that law defines 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.” Letters and email can count here, too.Proponents of the bill, such as psychologists and counselors, say it’s an important step in recognizing that nasty words can hurt as much as physical violence. They hope it will bring down the huge numbers of domestic abuse victims who are hurt or killed in France every year.

However, some worry that the bill will be extremely difficult to enforce. Evidence of verbal abuse is hard to come by and could result in a he-said-she-said court case. Peeps are also upset that the government is intervening in private matters, like fights between couples. I mean, one couple’s verbal abuse might be another’s foreplay. Or something. What do you think about France’s new law? [BBC]