The So-Called Dialogue about Restraining Order Injustice and How It Might Be Redirected with Smarter Words…Like FRAUD

Posted on January 29, 2016



Okay, first, there is no “dialogue” (or “debate”) about restraining orders. That’s a misnomer. There are uninfluential people speaking truth to influential people (occasionally) and influential people calling uninfluential people crazy (typically). That’s not communication, so it’s not a conversation. The only dialogues are between influential people talking to influential people (e.g., politicians with anti-domestic-violence advocates) and uninfluential people talking to uninfluential people (e.g., fellow victims of procedural abuse commiserating on Reddit). Uninfluential people who try to get the ears of politicians or journalists (the influential people) are spurned. (Uninfluential people who try to get the ears of anti-domestic-violence advocates are lambasted.)

There’s no inter-group exchange (except insults and sniping), so there is no “dialogue.” (One side, moreover, is consolidated, organized, and flush with cash, and the other is fragmentary.)

Case in point: I tuned in to an interview on NPR a few months ago with a man who had allegedly been falsely accused of some kind of abuse of a serious nature. I knew long before the interviewer said as much that the man being interviewed was gay and in a position of prominence. The man didn’t “sound gay.” I just knew he would be, because I know what victims liberal-oriented media are interested in and what victims they aren’t. False allegations against women and gay men of “social importance” rate attention; false allegations against hetero men and “little people” don’t.

No one of the influential party is comfortable saying people who allege abuse lie. It’s taboo. It’s “victim-blaming” (because, as you know, to claim to be a victim is to be a “victim,” ipso facto.)

Consider the first paragraph of a news story that was excerpted in the last post:

A man who was shot in a work dispute learned a few days later that a judge granted a protection order against him—requested by the man who shot him.

The journalist observes an ironic circumstance. It isn’t her place to comment, though, on whether the plaintiff of the protection order lied. The fact she cites casts suspicion on the process, but what the truth is isn’t for the writer to conclude.

No one in a position of influence ever uses the word lied. Judges don’t, journalists don’t, politicians don’t, and certainly no one with a political interest in maintaining the status quo (i.e., “anti-abuse advocates”) does.

Journalists and politicians can only say “lied” if a judge does. Judges don’t. If they dismiss abuse allegations, they call them “unfounded” or “baseless.” Use of the word lied would begin to cast suspicion on the legitimacy of the whole shebang (and someone influential might wonder aloud why “liars” aren’t being prosecuted). Judges and others are perfectly comfortable with the moral judgment “victim,” but the moral judgment “lied” is one they avoid. It’s a hot potato. It’s also a judgment that would require more investigation than some 10- to 30-minute drive-thru procedure allows (one might suggest the same is true of the judgment “victim,” but that one’s written into the law itself—which tells you the law itself is ethically compromised).

People who’ve been lied about who use the word lied, what’s more, are typically (dis)regarded as sore losers. (Even if these “sore losers” actually “won” in court, their accusers are still called “victims,” and the record of the accusations against them is indefinitely and publicly preserved, so whether they prevailed at all is an open question.) People who’ve been lied about who use the word lied publicly, what’s more than that, face being prosecuted for it.

This post is to report a trend the author of this blog has noted of late. Observe for yourself:

People who’ve been lied about are using a different and savvier word, one that has more pointed legal implications. Fraud is knowingly lying with the intent to cheat people and to cheat the system.

Fraud in the restraining order process is epidemic, and the process itself promotes fraud, because accusers, even when their allegations have a basis in fact, are motivated to sensationalize their claims to make them seem more urgent and be more effective.

Allegations spiked to mislead are fraudulent, because they intend to induce a false conclusion.

Words count, and it may be small changes like this in how people characterize how they’ve been abused that obliquely enter the stream of conversation and consciousness.

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