Neuroscience and law: Male domestic violence perps are incapable of marriage

Can people who hate their counter-party form a contract in good faith? Specifically, how about wife batterers — biologically wired to hate women it seems —  who sign up under the marriage laws to be a lifetime spousal fiduciary?

Män som hatar kvinnor“, or, “Men who hate women,”  is the original Swedish title for  “The girl with the dragon tattoo” (excellent, and we may post a book review, breaking our tradition of only reviewing books we haven’t yet read, like here, here, and here).  The “Girl with the dragon tattoo” book, although a little MarySue-ish, did remind us to check up on the domestic violence perp research.

Domestic violence and emotional abuse has a high level of popular interest, according to this blog’s analytics.  Our post, “Family Annihilators”: Whether mad or sad, it’s entitlement and control , sadly, is a popular one.

Yet, this level of interest, and, in our opinion, the degree to which domestic violence is basically localized terrorism, is not at all reflected in laws, their enforcement, or in social norms.  There’s a disconnect here.

One disconnect is with the marriage laws and the California marriage laws  are on a crash course with biology.

California marriage law is premised on duties between fiduciaries, and even references the corporate laws — marriage is a business deal  for one’s personal business sort of.  Emotion is not mentioned at all in the law; love is not required. The only requirement is the capacity for consent:

California Family Code Section 300. (a) Marriage is a personal relation arising out of a civil contract between a man and a woman, to which the consent of the parties capable of making that contract is necessary.. . .

So, you have to be 18 years old or older (with some exception, like emancipated children).  Why? Eighteen is the age one is considered to be able to form a binding contract — based in part on the neurodevelopmental biology of children.

In California, there is an implied good faith for entering into a contract, any contract.  As California juries are instructed in breach of contract cases,  (California Civil Jury Instructions for Civil Contracts ) one cannot enter into a contract, and then intentionally prevent the counter-party from receiving the benefits of it.  Domestic violence perps totally lack this good faith element, but more on that below.

There is another requirement — there has to be one man, and one woman.  Give this 30 seconds thought: First, California marriage laws premise marriage on civil contracts; but,  this civil contract has to be between a man and a woman (California Family Code Section 308.5. )  Last we checked, the Constitution says something about equal protection, that everyone is treated equally or some such. If that is the case, then all civil contracts, not just marriage civil contracts,  should require that the parties pull down their pants and check the counter-party gender before signing on the dotted line.

We proved our point:  gender is irrelevant to forming a civil contract, marriage or otherwise. (Consider California’s Prop 8. N.b., the Prop 8 trial is on hiatus in California since January; see, Californians Against Hate).

We take a higher approach, literally and figuratively, focusing on an area above the belt: the brain.  Do the parties have the neural wiring to form the contract, in good faith? (See our post, “ Law and neuroscience: What’s love got to do with it? Plenty. Prairie voles and Justininan law and marriage laws depending on intent of the parties.“)

There are some people who seem to lack this capacity, like wife batterers.  Batterers are, we surmise, biologically wired to irrationally hate women; to be “Män som hatar kvinnor”.  These men should not be married. (Why they get married would be an interesting study). We previously proposed that vasopressin systems, instrumental in monogamy, are haywire resulting in monogamous aggression (Domestic Violence as Monogamous Aggression). The unsuspecting wife fails to receive the benefits of the marriage contract if there is terrorism in the air — there is no good faith involved. (The Family Court system is particularly unhelpful, with  the Center for Judicial Excellence noting, “Not since the Catholic Church pedophile scandal has the United States seen this level of institutional collusion and corruption harming innocent children.. . .”; see also Elkins’ Commission, and even Dr.  Phil).

And so, how can a man who hates women consent, in good faith, to be a lifetime spousal fiduciary?  How come the marriage contract isn’t void  ab initio for lack of good faith consent?

Hey Law and Neuroscience crowd, wut sez you?

We note a recent report confirming that wife batterers are wired to hate women, in that they hyper-react to things that make them feel bad, and, they hyper react with aggression:

. . .Tasks were administered to 23 male batterers and 24 controls to assess attentional bias to both negative affect stimuli (emotional Stroop) and affectively neutral stimuli (cognitive Stroop). Batterers relative to controls showed longer reaction times in naming the color of negative affect words than affectively neutral words. No such abnormality was observed for the non-affective cognitive control task. Results remained significant after controlling for comorbid depression. Batterers scored significantly higher on reactive (but not proactive) aggression. Results suggest that batterers may have a bias in allocating more attentional resources to aggressive words, potentially making them over-sensitive to negative affect stimuli in the environment. Future treatment programs addressing this neurocognitive abnormality may be more successful in reducing spouse abuse.

Previous posts relating to selective spousal aggression:

Superbowl Sunday: Why do men kill their wives?

Law and neuroscience: What’s love got to do with it? Plenty. Prairie voles and Justininan law and marriage laws depending on intent of the parties.

Domestic Violence as Monogamous Aggression)

Wife batterers: a synesthesia subtype for domestic violence perpetrators

Friday Dysfunctional Roundup: “Man shoots” ; “Woman murdered”

Friday Dysfunctional Roundup: 33% of all men murdered are murdered by ex-wives, oops I meant women murdered by ex-husbands.

Reporting femicide: yo – city editors – you aren’t selling papers, you’re promoting murder 

Men who specifically target hostility at women bond more closely with other men

Failure to enforce domestic violence restraining order may be a human rights violation

Kids on the milk cartons: Parental kidnapping