Battered Woman Syndrome

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Battered Woman Syndrome In 2005 an average of three women every day was killed by an intimate partner. Of all the women homicides in the United States about one-third were killed by a husband or boyfriend (Bureau of Justice Statistics). Battered Women Syndrome can be defined as “a condition created by sustained physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse, which creates a variety of physical and emotional symptoms” (Battered Child/Spouse Syndrome). Battered Woman Syndrome can leave its victims with physical and emotional problems, some of which are easily seen while others are more difficult to prove. From a legal standpoint this makes Battered Woman Syndrome a difficult defense to use. Despite the difficulties of proving a battered woman case I believe that Battered Woman Syndrome should be used as a viable defense. Battered Woman Syndrome is used a defense in many jurisdictions in which the victim of abuse eventually hits a breaking point and kills the abuser. This defense is usually only allowed in cases where the woman believes that her abuser will kill her if she does not kill him first. Using this defense poses many difficulties. In cases of battered-spouse syndrome the victim usually claims self-defense. In order to use this defense she must show that there were no reasonable alternatives. However most battered women will stay in an abusive relationship long after the abuse began even when they are physically capable of leaving. Reasons for staying in such a relationship are usually all psychological (Battered Child/Spouse Syndrome). The three phases of the battering cycle are: the tension building phase, acute battering phase and phase three the honeymoon phase. During the first phase, the abuser becomes temperamental and verbally abusive. In this stage the victim begins to fear she will be physically harmed and will often become passive and
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