In the Name of Harmony: The Erasure of Domestic Violence in China’s Judicial Mediation - abstract

Abstract

Based on observations of court trials and extensive interviews with judges, this article explores how judicial mediation in China undermines the rights of the battered women in divorce cases. We find that even if the judges are able to establish that domestic violence is committed, it is often erased in the stage of judicial mediation. This is because judicial mediation inevitably focuses on settlement arrangements. Lingering reference to domestic abuse would simply invite new denials or refutations from the abuser. It thus risks ruining the mediation efforts made by the judge. Our findings raise important questions with regard to the compulsory practice of mediation in family cases in China. It also sheds light on the hidden problems created by judicial mediation or conciliation in general.

http://lawfam.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/02/01/lawfam.ebs014.short

He & Ng. Int J Law Policy Family. (2013) doi: 10.1093/lawfam/ebs014.

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"Lingering reference to domestic abuse would simply invite new denials or refutations from the abuser.... It also sheds light on the hidden problems created by judicial mediation or conciliation in general." Mediation always empowers the abuser. I'm reminded of Dr. Martha Stout's words:

“The best way to protect yourself from a sociopath is to avoid him, to refuse any kind of contact or communication. Psychologists do not usually like to recommend avoidance, but in this case, I make a very deliberate exception. The only truly effective method for dealing with a sociopath you have identified is to disallow him or her from your life altogether. Sociopaths live completely outside of the social contract, and therefore to include them in relationships or other social arrangements is perilous.”

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