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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/28/2011 Category: Society
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,722 times Debate No: 20097
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Resolved: It is morally permissible for victims to use deadly force as a deliberate response to repeated domestic violence.

The first round will be only for accepctance.

This debate will take place in LD format. Both debaters must offer a value, criterion and necessary definitions. Arguments may include either data or clear philosophical warrants.


I accept .
Debate Round No. 1



Morally permissible acts are those which are not prohibited.

Repeated actions or events are those which happen many times. (Collins English Dictionary).

Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior perpetrated by an intimate partner against another. (NCADV)

The affirmative is not bound to defending that it’s morally permissible to use deadly force in every single case of repeated domestic violence. The resolution does not contain a universal qualifier such as the word “all,” enabling me to defend a general statement. Furthermore, forcing me to defend the application of the resolution in all circumstances would destroy reciprocity which is a key to fairness.

I value justice
which is the administering of deserved punishment or reward. Justice mandates the existence of basic human rights for at least those individuals who are innocent. These human rights must be described in terms of relationships among people.

Robert Grant explains, “A right is only one side of a relationship; your right must necessarily be the duty of another. A human right is a contractual right that imposes upon all others the necessary and universal duty to act in a certain way...Human rights should not be confused with possessions. Rather, a human right is a relationship between an individual and all others that entitles a person to certain conduct from every other person and from society “

Therefore, as Roger Scruton concludes, “Rights cannot be had for free. [They] cannot be invented without also inventing the social relations that enable us to uphold them. A society cannot be based in rights alone but must also inculcate a strong sense of duty in its members, if rights are to be anything more than useless bits of paper.”

The only way societies can inculcate such a strong sense of duty in their members is by giving them a self-interested reason for conforming to morality. As the psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg observed, a large proportion of the population is not motivated by an unselfish concern for others. Julie Hough notes, “On the basis of his research, Kohlberg identified six stages of moral reasoning. At the first level, a person's moral judgments are focused on avoiding breaking rules that are backed by punishment. The reasoning of stage one is characterized by egocentrism and the inability to consider the perspectives of others.
At stage two, one follows the rules only when it is to someone's immediate interests. Morality is of the form, "You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.” What is right is what's fair in the sense of an equal exchange.”

In other words, people in the first two stages of moral development are not motivated by a selfless concern for the interests of others. Therefore, if we want to protect human rights in general, we must give these individuals a self-interested reason to fulfill their duties to others. To accomplish this goal, society must uphold the social contract. The social contract is an agreement between citizens to protect each other’s basic rights. This contract produces unique benefits for those who choose to accept it.

As Robert Grant explains, “Rights are the benefits negotiated by reasonable persons and received by each of them as a result of their agreement to accept the natural duties imposed by the social contract. Human rights are the consideration for the obligations assumed under that fundamental agreement....When parties enter into a contract each becomes obligated to the other and each reciprocally acquires a right to what is promised by the other.”

In other words, under the social contract, individuals can earn their basic rights only by fulfilling duties to each other. If an individual violates his end of the contract by harming another, the victim can rescind the contract. Under recession, the victim may use an amount of force which he or she believes is necessary for self-protection.

Clearly, in following the social contract, an individual will be avoiding great harm and simultaneously acquiring many benefits. Therefore, the social contract gives all individuals a self-interested reason to perform only those actions which are consistent with justice. For this reason, upholding the social contract is key to upholding human rights in general. Thus, my criterion is respecting the social contract. This includes allowing individuals to defend themselves against those who have violated the contract using an amount of force which they believe is necessary.

Contention one: many victims of repeated domestic violence believe that their life is in danger and that the use of deadly force is necessary for protection.

In abusive relationships, batterers operate much like the way terrorists do by constantly threatening to attack or even kill their victims. However, the victims often cannot anticipate or predict precisely when the next attack or assault will occur. The uncertainty about precisely when an attack is coming, coupled with the batterer’s past history of violence, leads a victim to fear for their safety.

Sub-point A: Women, who account for 95% of domestic violence victims, usually can only defend themselves through the use of deadly force.

As Elisabeth Ayyildiz explains, “Deadly force on the part of the battered woman [is] justified in several ways. First, death [is] necessary because lesser degrees of force may be insufficient. The battered woman may not be able to confront the batterer without a deadly weapon because of disparities in size, strength and emotional control. The lower degree of force a woman typically exerts upon a man may have little or no impact on a physically stronger abuser. Indeed, a woman's lesser degree of force may only incite a vicious retaliation by the abuser.”

Sub-point B: Repeated domestic violence necessitates the use of deadly force since women often cannot leave an abusive relationship:

As Elisabeth Ayyildiz writes, “In addition to believing that a lesser degree of force will be insufficient, many women may believe that leaving is not possible. Those that do attempt to leave report that their abusers follow them, continuing the harassment and violence.” In fact, according to Jeri Martinez, "A National Survey found the victimization rate of women separated from husbands was about 25 times higher than that of married women." This would definitely deter many women from leaving an abusive relationship.

Jeri Martinez furthers, “When there are children, the situation becomes extraordinarily complicated. Children increase women's economic dependency on men, and they make leaving extremely difficult...[Often times] the abuser [threatens that] he will win custody of the children, or simply snatch them if she leaves. His threat to gain custody through the legal process can easily be seen as plausible. One study found that fathers who fought for custody won around 70% of the time, whether or not they were absentee or violent fathers. The threat of abduction is also a credible scenario. More than 40 children are abducted by a parent each hour in this country. [O]f these abductions, 46% involve concealing the whereabouts of the child or taking the child out of state.”

For these reasons, we must recognize that leaving an abusive relationship is not an option for many victims of domestic violence. These women are literally trapped within an abusive relationship, and they can only defend themselves through the use of deadly force.

Therefore, we must recognize that the use of deadly force is permissible under the social contract. In perpetrating the domestic violence, an abuser violates his basic duties towards the victim. As explained above, this entitles the victim to rescind the contract. Under recession, the victim may use an amount of force which she believes is necessary. For the majority of domestic violence victims, this often means using deadly force.

Thus, I urge an affirmative ballot.



My value is Justice- the quality of being just, right, and fairness. Because the resolution is directly dealing with what is morally right I aim to bring what is the most just action. To achieve it we will look to my value criterion proportionality. Proportionality is used to convey the idea that the punishment of an offender should fit the crime.
For further clarification I will provide these definitions which will structure the debate.
Morally permissible- behavior that is in the bounds of the moral system
Deadly force- aggressive force that has a substantial risk of causing death
Deliberate- Done consciously and intentionally
Domestic violence- A pattern of physical abusive behaviors by a partner in anintimate relationship

Contention 1: Killing isn't proportional to domestic violence
In all instances the punishment must be directly comparable to the offence.The only appropriate retribution is that which is equivalent to the rights which have been violated to begin with.
Taking life is not proportional to the rights violation which occurs as a result of repeated domestic violence.

Sub point A: Social norms discredit the resolution.
The concept of what is moral differs so drastically between everyone. What is morally permissible for me may not be the same to you. Other than social norms there is no way to regulate morality so for any debate regarding what is moral we must look to social norms. Social norms such as the justice system
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics Jeffrey Kirchmeier, "Aggravating and Mitigating Factors: The Paradox of Today's Arbitrary and Mandatory Capital Punishment Scheme," 6 William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal 345 (1998).
Crimes that are capable of receiving the death penalty include first degree murder, some forms of rape, especially of a child, and (on a national level) treason against the United States along with attributing aggressive factors.
Even if the abuse was solely physical, no state or national legislature would consider it one of the aggravating factors that justify capital punishment.

Sub point B: Life is our most valuable right.

In 1776, the United States Declaration of Independence declared that all men are endowed with certain rights (by birth), and among these is Life.

Take this into consideration, Life provides the opportunity to exercise all other rights, and therefore, it is more valuable than all other rights.

Joshua Dressler writes:
Joshua Dressler [Professor of Law, Ohio State Univ. College of Law]. Battered Women and Sleeping Abusers: Some Reflections. 3 Ohio St. J Crim. L., 457, 2006.

If someone is violating my right to bodily integrity by repeatedly shoving his finger into my chest, that does not give me the right to kill him to stop his offensive conduct. My right to bodily integrity entitles me to demand that he desist and, if that fails or if such a request would be futile, I surely have the right to use proportional force—perhaps a shove—to get him to stop. If the only way I can stop his obnoxious behavior is to kill him, I may not do so, even though he is violating my autonomy. Killing him would be a disproportional response.

There can be nothing worse than the punishment of killing for the simple reason that every other offence can be healed. Though the victim may be robbed of liberty and happiness, they still have the opportunity to regain it because they are alive. A victim's use of deadly force would therefore be disproportionate and morally impermissible.

Now on to my opponents case;

In his first Observation he is saying that He is not bound to support all domestic violence cases. I find a few flaws in his argument.

He states the resolution does not contain a qualifier such as all, this is quite contradicting because it does not contain a qualifier such as "certain cases the aff supports." The way he presents his case hes arguing that he doesn't even have to support a majority of cases. This completely undermines fairness as he has to prove a few times where it may be morally permissible and foists a huge burden of proof on the con. Reciprocity cannot be achieved by completely undermining it. Also being such a broad statement it doesn't need a qualifier such as all.

And finally, and most importantly, no one is able to draw the line. A bright line never exists in domestic violence. Who is to tell when it is severe enough to be morally permissible and when it is not? Because you cannot accurately apply a reasonable bright line to what cases the resolution encompasses, you have to support all cases as the Aff.

He assumes the same value of justice as I. He defines it as the administering of deserved punishment, but throughout his case nowhere does he show how this a proportional response and death is the deserved punishment. Throughout my entire case I describe how death is not porportianal. You must conclude by his defenition that he isnt supporting justice. Furthermore respecting the social contract does not lead into justice. Hes states directly after his criterion that "This includes allowing individuals to defend themselves against those who have violated the contract using an amount of force which they believe is necessary." Literally, He finds any violation of the social contract would condone any retribution deemed necessary by the victim. This is not justice and completely undermines porportionality. The reason crimes in the justice system recieve different punishment is because all crimes are not deserving of the same punishment. He states "the victim may use an amount of force which he or she believes is necessary for self-protection."By this logic If someone were hitting me I would be able to kill them if I felt necessary. This completely defeats the purpose of justice. There is a difference between self defence and retribution. He places absolutely no value on human life.

On to his contention 1;

Basically he just makes the blatant statement that victims believe their life is in danger. Just because they think it is doesn't make it true, because frankly it isnt remotely so.

According to the Abuse, rape, and domestic violence resource collection
From: "Violence by Intimates: Analysis of Data on Crimes by Current or Former Spouses, Boyfriends, and Girlfriends, U.S. Department of Justice, March, 1998"

Estimates range from 960,000 incidents of violence against a current or former spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend each year to 4 million women who are physically abused by their husbands or live-in partners each year.
31,260 women were murdered by an intimate from 1976-1996.
Literally in that 20 year period less than .02% died. I was even using the low estimate of 960,000 in my calculations. [1]

In his Sub point A: He implies that the resolution is out of self defense. The words Deliberate response and repeated imply that the deadly force is premeditated and that the victim is not in any immediate danger. So the victim is committing what is called a sleeping murder. Anything you say about self defense is irrelevant and quite abusive. If we were arguing whether she can act out of self defense the negative would never win because everyone can agree that immediate self defense is a viable option.

And finally on his sub point B: I cant find any study that proves a 25 times increase. Look to my attack on his actual contention that shows actually how many murders occur.[1]

Also the child argument proves the bright line argument where he isnt supporting a majority of cases. According to this study [2] 44% of domestic violence cases involve a child. Now in his argument he states 70% of the time custody is an issue. This means only 30% of the time is this argument relevant! My job as the negation isnt to prove it doesnt work 100% that would be his BOF.

Debate Round No. 2


QT forfeited this round.


iTzDanneh forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by QT 6 years ago
iTzDanneh, I'm going to have to forfeit round three. I've been very busy and I just have not had the time to write an adequate response. My apologies.
Posted by iTzDanneh 6 years ago
Mmk Go ahead
Posted by QT 6 years ago
I'll probably post my case tomorrow. I'm working on making some small changes to it right now.
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