The Use of Restraining Orders to Bully Women: Jenny’s Story

Posted on May 26, 2016


The painted fingernail in this image isn’t that of the person who filed the domestic violence restraining order; it’s the fingernail of the person against whom the order was issued (wrongly).

A woman named Jenny brought her blog to my attention yesterday. Jenny reports she was falsely accused of domestic violence for no better motive than to hurt her, and she prevailed in court.

I broke down during my turn to defend myself, but I couldn’t help it. My heart hurt so badly. I was in so much pain. The judge took no time at all to throw the case out. He pretty much laughed Mr. Wrong out of the courtroom for his petty allegations and…what he was trying to use as proof of domestic violence….

As Jenny puts it, she was “slapped with a restraining order.” She should have said “SLAPPed.” Her accuser, whom she calls “Mr. Wrong,” implied the worst about her that the boilerplate bureaucratic form allowed—to shut her up: She’d published a warning about her ex-boyfriend online and invited his friends to read it. That’s protected speech (besides nonviolent), and the judge was right to vacate the order.

Don’t break out the champagne yet, though.

Jenny, who has been served with two falsely petitioned restraining orders alleging “domestic violence” (this month) besides heckled on her blog as a “crazy bitch,” a “joke,” a “loser,” and “just a booty call that didn’t leave in the morning”

In her latest post, Jenny reports she was yesterday served with a second domestic violence protection order. Yeah. The motive is the same: to shut her up and hurt her. Jenny had left a note asking if she could see her accuser’s son, a boy she had parented and whom she cared about and missed.

This time around, Mr. Wrong ticked a box on the form mandating that Jenny attend a 52-weekBatterer Intervention Program” (funded by the tax-paying public).

He also ticked a box indicating Jenny owned a gun, which she says she never has. That doesn’t matter, of course, nor does it matter that the same guy petitioned the same order a few weeks before and was ultimately denied. Restraining order proceedings are conducted ex parte, which means orders are issued blindly, and the priority is to “protect” plaintiffs. There’s no cap on how many times vexatious plaintiffs can play this game. Defendants aren’t consulted or considered. They’re just handed orders that say the court has reason to suspect they’re batterers (or stalkers or child abusers or rapists, etc.).

Jenny has besides been serially ridiculed and taunted by “anonymous” commenters on her blog (who could “they” be?). She’s been called a “crazy bitch,” a “joke,” a “loser,” and “just a booty call that didn’t leave in the morning”:

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), domestic abuse includes “coercion and threats”; “intimidation”; “emotional abuse”; “isolation”; “minimizing, denying, and blaming”; and “using children.”

The NCADV and other “women’s advocacy groups” defend restraining orders as deterrents of abuse…and thereby make the abuse of people like Jenny not just possible but easy.

Copyright © 2016

*Contrast this story with how complainants of false accusations of domestic violence are represented by feminist advocates like UC Davis Prof. Kelly Behre.