A Republican lawmaker in New Hampshire made a startling comment Tuesday during a debate on a bill that would reduce the penalties for simple assault, claiming that “a lot of people like being in abusive relationships.”
The remark by state Rep. Mark Warden (R) was caught on tape during a meeting of the New Hampshire House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. He was speaking in support of a bill his fellow lawmakers on the committee overwhelmingly voted to kill.
“Is the solution to those kind of dysfunctional relationships going to be more government, another law?” he said. “I’d say no. People are always free to leave.”
Warden told The Concord Monitor on Wednesday that his remarks were “taken out of context, but that’s all I’m going to say about that.”
While it is in fact common for people to return to abusive relationships, experts and therapists say it can often result in further violence. Additionally, many abusive partners manipulate their victims through physical and emotional means, making it difficult, and sometimes impossible, for them to leave in the first place.
“Victims of domestic violence have historically been characterized as masochistic women who enjoy being beaten. Evidence does not support this anachronistic psychological theory,” the Virginia-based Women’s Center explains. “Rather, victims of domestic violence desperately want the abuse to end, and engage in various survival strategies, including calling the police or seeking help from family members, to protect themselves and their children. Silence may also be a survival strategy in some cases. Moreover, enduring a beating to keep the batterer from attacking the children may be a coping strategy used by a victim, but does not mean that the victim enjoys it.”
This video was published to YouTube on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013.