Fox News made light of the real threat that domestic violence and stalking pose to women during a discussion of a man's arrest for violating a restraining order.
On January 10, Thomas Gagnon was jailed for reportedly sending his ex-girlfriend, who had a restraining order against him, an email invitation to join Google+.
While discussing Gagnon, Happening Now co-host Jon Scott downplayed the gravity of violence against women by suggesting that men don't take restraining orders seriously because they "know there are a lot of overly-vindictive women out there." Guest Fred Tecce similarly made light of stalking, joking that the email should have said "I'm cold hanging out here hiding in the bushes behind your house." Tecce and fellow guest Arthur Aidala quickly swept aside co-host Jenna Lee's observation that the perpetrator may have had a history of violence, as Tecce joked that "she had to get a restraining order because the guy was trying to get his ring back and she just didn't want to give it back to him":
Contrary to the nonchalant attitude of Scott and his male guests, violence against women is a serious issue. According to a 2010 survey by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of women in the United States -- 35.6 percent -- have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime.
Scott's dismissal of women who file restraining orders as hyperbolic flies in the face of the reality that most women file for restraining orders only after experiencing severe violence at the hands of their partner. The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that more than half of women who filed for restraining orders suffered severe physical abuse, with 45 percent reporting physical injuries and up to 48 percent reporting sexual violence. According to a University of Pennsylvania study, 11 percent of women killed by an intimate partner once had a restraining order against that partner.