In a disturbing twist of gender equality law, a San Diego woman is now being forced to pay alimony to her ex-husband in spite of the fact that he was convicted of sexually assaulting her.
Crystal Harris was trapped in an escalating cycle of domestic violence with her husband Shawn, one that she indicates was exacerbated by his role as a stay-at-home dad and her role as breadwinner for the family. Although she called the police every time he hit her and ordered a gun for protection, the relationship culminated in a violent 2008 incident that she managed to catch on tape. Shawn Harris was arrested, convicted of forced oral copulation, and ordered to serve a six year sentence, all after divorce proceedings had already been completed. The catch? As soon as Harris is released from prison, he will be entitled to monthly spousal support from his former wife to the tune of $1000 per month. Not only that, but Ms. Harris has been ordered to pay her ex’s $47,000 legal defense tab.
“I can’t look at a twelve year marriage where one side is making $400 a month, the other side is making $11,000, and say no spousal support,” explained Superior Court Judge Gregory Pollack, who further claims that his hands were tied in enforcing the spousal order. Legally speaking, alimony is only prohibited when one spouse attempts to murder the other, but the law says nothing about cases of rape or abuse.
As much as none of us can know the whole story behind their relationship, it seems pretty ridiculous that this woman will have to support her abuser while also providing for their two children. The law might say that an ex is entitled to life-long support, but when all that ex has to do to get said support is finish his prison term for forcing himself on you, doesn’t spousal rape start to sound like a bit of a bargain?
Read more at The New York Post.