Battered Woman's Syndrome Research Paper

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In the criminal justice system, the courts view and consider the (BWS), which is Battered Woman’s Syndrome. Battered woman’s syndrome was first introduced in the 1970’s and coined by Lenore Walker. It is a syndrome that in a criminal defense shows patterns of pyschological impact towards the victim of long-term abuse in their relationship with their partners/spouse. The symptoms of BWS have been determined to be fear, injuries, constant abuse inflicted on a woman by their partners. The victim begins to believe that they are unable to leave the abuser because they fear the abuser. The battered woman develops the condition called “learned helplessness”, a psychological term which is when a battered woman can’t leave the abusive relationship…show more content…
In a legal article called, “Legal Defenses for Battered Women”, it is explained that in courts BWS is not considered as a legal defense, but when the victim charged with murder, pleads with self-defense because they believed their life was in imminent danger at the moment with the abuser, the courts consider it in situations of self-defense. Cases are closely looked over and evidence such as the woman’s testimony, their physical state like bruises that have been cause by the abuser, the abuser’s history, the victim’s psychological evaluations to determine their mental capacity, whether or not they are insane are all examined and considered in court. According to the attorney Lina Guillen, in the article “Battered Woman’s Syndrome and Child Custody”, it is noted that in the concept of BWS, it has three stages. The battered woman goes through a cycle in an abusive relationship. The first stage is where “the tension is built”(2). The abuser begins to over power the victim and put them down with verbal abuse. Then in the second stage the abuser starts to physically abuse the victim, and lastly, the third stage is when the abuser starts to apologize to the victim and say that they won’t do it again. With BWS, battered women go through this cycle repeatedly and fall into the belief that they aren’t…show more content…
Some adovocates argue that BWS looked at as a psychological condition may lack empirical evidence as a “syndrome” that impacts the victim dealing with abuse. In cases where women who have killed their partners and have claimed self-defense, legally they can use reasonable and necessary force when they believe their life is in danger and would be acquitted in trial. But, if in a situation where the victim dealt with long-term abuse and was not in physical danger and they decided to kill their partner then they would be guilty and convicted with a lesser charge of manslaughter. However, there are cases of BWS where the mental state of the battered women who killed their partners is looked at and determined by experts, judges, and the jury if the person was mentally deficient or not. If proven insane then the person is not charged and taken to a mental institution where they would be treated. So it depends on the situation in the given case of women dealing with BWS whether or not it is proven with evidence if it was self-defense or

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