Disclaimer: Domestic violence is a big deal, and I don’t mean to make light of it. But laws, the Constitution, and criminal defense are big deals too. It’s important to write laws well so the right people are charged with the right crimes.
Ok, quickly, when we think DV, we might think spousal abuse or child abuse. Something like when Cora tortured her daughter Regina with magic.
Yep, that’s it. But it’s the tip of the iceberg. Without getting into abandonment and gaslighting (which also occurs on this show where everyone is related and everyone treats everyone like crap), lets dig into the statute and the show. We’re using Texas because that’s where I practice. Let’s think about some of the people Rumpelstiltskin attacked. Can he be charged with domestic violence if he beat someone other than Milah, Bae, or Belle? Was it domestic violence when Rumple beat Hook?
Outside of fanfic, Rumple and Hook aren’t getting it on. But could a zealous prosecutor charge Rumple with domestic violence for this act? What about when he beat Mr. French?
Or the Sheriff of Nottingham?
Texas calls it “family violence,” and it is, in short, intended violence or threats by a member of a family or household against a member of a family or household. (See Texas Family Code, sec. 71.004.) Easy, right? Cora on Regina, yes. Rumple on anyone pictured above, no.
But wait! There’s more.
Family violence is also “dating violence,” which refers us back to section 71.0021 and is intended violence or threats committed against your date or a victim because of that person’s marriage or dating relationship with an individual that the actor has also married or dated. So when Rumple beat Hook over Milah, that’s dating violence.
What about the Sheriff of Nottingham? Rumple beat him because because he was kissing Lacy. Yes, but a dating relationship considers the length and frequency of the relationship. It probably doesn’t count hooking up with someone in the back of Granny’s diner. So probably no dating violence there.
And what about Moe? Even though the show is incestuous, Belle didn’t kiss her dad. And even though the family violence statute considers it to be family violence if you are or previously were in a household together, regardless of your relationship, and Belle was part of both their households, still no family violence there because no dating relationship between Belle and her dad and no shared household between Rumple and Moe. Once he moves into the father-in-law suite in the Dark Castle’s basement, however, it becomes family violence. Odd that beating the one person he is actually family to presents the clearest case of no family violence.