France May Make Nagging a Crime

And that's très fou , critics say
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 7, 2010 6:42 AM CST
Updated Jan 7, 2010 7:33 AM CST

(Newser) – The wrong answer to "do I look fat?" or "honey, why don't you empty the dishwasher?" could have French couples heading for court if a new bill criminalizing "psychological violence" between married couples becomes law. The legislation, put forward by the Sarkozy government, aims to combat bullying and verbal abuse in relationships—but is so broad it could end up finding illegal abuse in just about every relationship, Ceri Radford writes in the Daily Telegraph.

The bill appears to "cover everything from nagging, to false accusations of infidelity, to sustained campaigns of verbal abuse, to a failure to supply the correct answer to the question: Does my bum look big in this?" Radford writes, and that's the problem: It doesn't distinguish between "the normal friction thrown up by two human beings going through life's frustrations together, and the actions of the criminally cruel."

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