Thursday, May 29, 2008
Domestic Assault In the News
Country music singer Chris Cagle and his girlfriend Jennifer Tant got into a verbal argument that turned into what has been called a drunken brawl a few weeks ago. Tant hit Cagle in the head with an umbrella [could be consider a dangerous weapon...it has a pointy thing at the top that could poke your eye out] and Cagle retaliated (some would say defended himself) by hitting Tant with her own purse [Not so much a dangerous weapon unless she has a rock in it or it is made of a heavy metal]. The reports state that Cagle had a raised area on the side of his head i.e. bump, from the altercation where she apparently struck him with the umbrella and Tant had a scrape on her lip and a sore, red upper left arm. None of the injuries seem to be life threatening but who knows what could have happened if the police had not shown up on the scene when they did. Both Cagle and Tant were arrested and taken into custody. Tennessee state domestic violence laws consider both Cagle and Tant primary aggressors. Hearing that both people in a domestic dispute were arrested as primary aggressors may have you scratching your head thinking, primary means first or most important so how can both of them be primary aggressors? One would think that whoever struck first with the larger more dangerous weapon i.e. umbrella vs. purse would be designated the primary aggressor. That's not usually how it works when the police determine the woman to be aggressor. E! online made both Cagle and Tant's affivadits filed by the county prosecutor available online. See the affidavitt's here: http://images.eonline.com/static/news/pdf/cagle_tant_public_records_request.pdf Our domestic violence laws in the USA are ever evolving. In the 1980's mandatory arrest laws gave law enforcement a tool to arrest if they have probable cause in a domestic dispute, they no longer have to witness the abuse happening. This was a positive step in preventing domestic violence because far too many times the abuse happened behind closed doors with only the victim and perpetrator as witnesses. The challenge with mandatory arrest laws as with all new things when the kinks and bugs aren't quite worked out yet is that both men and women were getting arrested at times because the police couldn't determine which person had the most fault. This doesn't fair well for battered women's advocates who believe that all domestic violence is patriarchal in nature. How can a women be a perpetrator if men are the dominant, controlling and oppressing sex in all circumstances? I would love to hear your comments on this.