The U.S. court system often traumatizes victims of domestic violence (“DV”) through institutional gender discrimination, which has plagued women throughout the United States since colonial American times. In many ways the court system becomes a participant in re-victimizing and continuing the abuse of the DV victim. Abusive power and control of women exposes them to DV in alarming numbers; this causes many DV victims to experience severe trauma that results in psychological injuries such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”). In the court system, the DV abuser enters the legal process with an advantage over his victim who suffers from PTSD. Absolute privilege and the innately adversarial nature of the family law court system harms the DV victim who is ill prepared mentally, physically, and emotionally to wage legal war against her abuser; thus, the abuser manipulates the court system as a weapon to inflict additional harms against his psychologically injured victim. As a result, the victim leaves the court with an unjust and unfair judicial outcome. Such a result runs afoul to the principles of the U.S. legal system. Reforms to the U.S. court system need to be enacted to protect injured DV victims who suffer from PTSD. The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) requires public spaces to be changed to allow free and open use of public services for people with disabilities to exercise their legal rights. DV victims suffering from PTSD should have the same legal protection afforded by the ADA in order to modify absolute privilege, allowing for a just and fair legal outcome in cases with their abuser.
Jerrell Dayton King & Donna J. King,
A Call for Limiting Absolute Privilege: How Victims of Domestic Violence, Suffering with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Are Discriminated Against by the U.S. Judicial System,
DePaul J. Women, Gender & L.
Available at: http://via.library.depaul.edu/jwgl/vol6/iss1/1