Alright … a grim proposition: Should domestic violence victims be allowed to defend themselves?
Please don’t ask why I ask that. Because if you do, then you need only keep reading. Nicole Flatow of ThinkProgress tries to explain:
South Carolina is one of more than 20 states that has passed an expansive Stand Your Ground law authorizing individuals to use deadly force in self-defense. The law has been used to protect a man who killed an innocent bystander while pointing his gun at several teens he called “women thugs.” But prosecutors in Charleston are drawing the line at domestic violence.
In the cases of women who claim they feared for their lives when confronted with violent intimate abusers, prosecutors say the Stand Your Ground law shouldn’t apply.
“(The Legislature’s) intent … was to provide law-abiding citizens greater protections from external threats in the form of intruders and attackers,” prosecutor Culver Kidd told the Post and Courier. “We believe that applying the statute so that its reach into our homes and personal relationships is inconsistent with (its) wording and intent.”
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South Carolina is one of several states that has two self-defense provisions. One known as the Castle Doctrine authorizes occupants to use deadly force against intruders. Recently, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that this provision could not apply to fellow occupants of the home, in a case involving roommates, although that ruling was since withdrawn and the case is being re-heard this week. The Stand Your Ground law contains a separate provision that authorizes deadly force in self-defense against grave bodily harm or death in another place “where he has a right to be.” Prosecutors are arguing that neither of these laws permit one occupant of a home to use deadly force against another. But as Nicholson points out, this interpretation would yield the perverse result that both self-defense provisions explicitly exempt domestic abusers when they perpetrate violence within their own home.
Okay, really. What? What the hell are we supposed to say? Sometimes it feels like being that guy in the “dead bleepin’ alien” episode of the X-Files, wandering naked along the roadside muttering, “This isn’t happening. This isn’t happening.”
So let us offer a statistic then, that will do exactly nothing to cheer you up: Twelve days. As in, “women are dying at a rate of one every twelve days from domestic abuse in South Carolina”.
Flatow, Nicole. “South Carolina Prosecutors Say Stand Your Ground Doesn’t Apply To Victims Of Domestic Violence”. ThinkProgress. 14 October 2014.