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Video: During Debate on Domestic Violence Prevention Laws, NH State Rep Says A Lot of People “Like Being in Abusive Relationships” and “Are Always Free to Leave”

For Immediate Release
Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Media Contact
Zandra Rice Hawkins, (603) 225-2471

Video: During Debate on Domestic Violence Prevention Laws, NH State Rep Says A Lot of People “Like Being in Abusive Relationships” and “Are Always Free to Leave”

Granite State Progress Calls on Rep. Warden to Publicly Apologize to Victims of Domestic Violence, Stop Voting to Undermine Domestic Violence Prevention

Concord, NH – NH State Representative and Free Stater Mark Warden (R-Goffstown) told fellow House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee members yesterday that a lot of people “like being in abusive relationships” and “are always free to leave”.

GSP State House Monitoring Video: http://bit.ly/ZB9ArG

"Some people could make the argument that a lot of people like being in abusive relationships. It’s a love-hate relationship. It’s very, very common for people to stick around with somebody they love who also abuses him or her … Is the solution to those kind of dysfunctional relationships going to be more government, another law? I’d say no. People are always free to leave.” – Rep. Mark Warden (R-Goffstown), House Committee, Feb. 26, 2013

The comments were made during an executive session on several bills affecting domestic violence protections; contrary to Rep. Warden’s statement, the legislation before the committee was not for new laws – all of the bills seek to repeal or undermine existing domestic violence prevention laws.

“Granite State Progress calls on Rep. Warden to publicly apologize to victims of domestic violence and their families for these outrageous remarks,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress. “Rep. Warden either has a complete lack of understanding about the very real and life-threatening situations that victims of domestic violence experience, or he is utterly cold. His belief that the victim is to blame is beyond comprehension. The year is 2013, not 1963.”

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Full descriptions of the bills and committee votes available upon request to info@granitestateprogress.org. Additional contacts and context for this story:

Rep. Mark Warden can be reached at (603) 391-2888 or mark.warden@leg.state.nh.us.

Amanda Grady Sexton is the director of public policy at the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. She can be reached at (603) 224-8893.

According to a report by the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and the UNH Survey Center, at least a third of New Hampshire women have been the victim of a physical assault by an intimate partner and more than half of all women in our state have experienced sexual and/or physical assault over the course of their lifetime. (Report: http://www.nhcadsv.org/uploads/VAW%20Report%20Final.pdf)

According to the Governor’s Commission on Domestic and Sexual Abuse Domestic Violence Fatality Review Committee’s 9th Report, October 2012, in the last decade the perpetrator had a known history of domestic violence in 53% of the cases [of homicide]. Domestic violence is a causal factor in 92% of the state’s homicide/suicides. (Report: http://doj.nh.gov/criminal/victim-assistance/documents/domestic-violence...)

Bills to undermine domestic violence prevention include HB 209, allowing individuals charged with stalking to carry a gun; HB 264, lowering the violation level if an abuser doesn’t leave a visible injury on the victim, HB 502 prohibiting law enforcement officers from arresting an abuser unless they personally witness the assault or until the victim has gone to court to file a complaint – or worse yet, HB 503 which would prohibit the arrest altogether until a criminal complaint had been filed even if the police officer had witnessed the abuse. (See attached for more info.)

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Granite State Progress is a progressive advocacy organization that addresses issues of immediate state and local concern. Granite State Progress works as a communications hub for the progressive community to provide a strong, credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems. Press releases and other information available online at www.GraniteStateProgress.org.

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