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The Battered Woman Syndrome and Self-Defense a Legal and Empirical Dissent

02/12/2022 | objavio Radio Gradačac

Unlike the use of BWS as part of a criminal defense, BWS has also been raised by prosecutors in U.S. criminal cases involving victims. At least a dozen U.S. states have allowed prosecutors to testify about abuse, which is commonly used to explain otherwise inconsistent behavior, such as retracting a victim`s testimony or staying in a relationship with an abusive partner.31 For example, in State v. Borrelli (1993), a woman first made a written statement to the police. in which she pointed out that her husband had assaulted her, but she later retracted her testimony in court.44 The prosecution presented testimony to help jurors understand behaviors consistent with an abused woman. The husband was convicted and subsequently appealed, arguing, among other things, that it was inappropriate to allow expert testimony on BWS that challenged the victim`s testimony. The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that the testimony was admissible and upheld the convictions. The court noted that the expert did not examine the victim or “give an opinion as to whether she was an abused woman”, but that the testimony was offered generally “to provide an interpretation of the facts that a lay jury might not have perceived because of its lack of experience with abused women” (Az. 44, p. 1111). Ewing, C. P.

(1987). Abused women who kill: psychological self-defense as legal justification. Lexington, MA: Heide. The BWS was defined in 1979 by Lenore Walker, who defined a female victim of violence as “a woman, 18 years of age or older, who has been in or has been in an intimate relationship with a man who repeatedly subjects or subjects her to violent physical and/or psychological abuse” (ref. 19, p. 203). Walker based much of his BWS theory on research that included learned impotence in animals, and then attempted to confirm this theory by studying 400 abused women in six states from 1978 to 1981.19 She hypothesized that the blows occurred like a cycle: a phase of increasing tension, an acute blow phase and a reconciliation phase.11 Since BWS`s founding nearly forty years ago, Walker has used the revised BWS description to include “a set of psychological consequences of living in an abusive relationship,” which can include “emotional, cognitive, and behavioral deficits that negatively prevent [a woman] from leaving a relationship after the beatings have occurred” (Ref. 19, pp. 1-2). Brewer, K.

R. (1988). Missouri`s new battered woman syndrome law: a moral victory, a partial solution. Saint Louis University Law Journal, 33, 227-255. Walker, L. (1983). The victimology and psychological perspectives of abused women. Victimology: An International Journal, 8, 82-104. First, research supporting the use of BWS as a full-fledged psychiatric diagnosis remains limited. The initial development of BWS was based in many ways on research-based findings, such as animal models of learned impotence and studies of abused women. At the same time, a number of researchers have pointed to methodological limitations in BWS research, including “the absence of control groups, problems with interview methods and data analysis, and the lack of data to support some of [Walker`s] conclusions” (ref. 47, p.

508). Although many studies have been conducted on women`s experiences and IPV, the validity and reliability of BWS as a clinical diagnosis (as opposed to a legal construct) remains controversial.25,48,49 For example, the DSM has undergone four updates since the development of the BWS theory, but BWS is absent from the publication.26 Levinson, B. (1986). Using Expert Testimony in the Grand Jury to Avoid a Murder Charge for an Abused Woman: Practical Considerations for the Defense Attorney. Women`s Rights Law Reporter, 9, 239-244. Walker, L. (1979). The battered woman. New York: Harper and Row. Several factors contribute to potential gaps in spousal violence prevalence and prosecution, including different legal norms for defining spousal violence, stigma associated with reporting spousal violence, difficulties in detecting spousal violence that occurs in private settings, and the trauma of spousal violence among victims.4, 6,7,10,–,13 Another influence on the continuation of spousal violence is the growing recognition that spousal violence can be two-way.14,–, 16 The public often portrays women as the only victims of spousal violence; Yet, as Hatters Friedman noted, “women can be violent in self-defense relationships, but they can be violent aggressors and participate in mutual two-way relational violence” (Ref.

14, 274). Whitaker et al. A 2007 study found that 4,609 (24%) of the 18,761 heterosexual relationships in the United States involved some degree of intimate partner violence, and of these relationships, 2,270 (50%) contained two-way IPV.17 The use of evidence for abused women syndrome has been advocated in studies of abused women attacking or killing their abusers. This article provides an overview of the existing legal and psychological literature dealing with the use of this form of expert testimony. As the review will show, there are currently significant gaps in our knowledge of its scientific status and implications for judicial proceedings. The purpose of the article is to highlight some of the main concerns surrounding the use of improved evidence of women`s syndrome and to encourage further research on the topic. Schuller, R.A., Vidmar, N. Evidence of battered woman syndrome in the courtroom.

Law Hum Behav 16, 273-291 (1992). courts have shown a willingness to consider the use of BWS by defense and prosecution in many jurisdictions in the United States. This applies both to general expert testimony about the characteristics of the ESPE and to specific statements about a person`s experience with domestic violence and its relevance to criminal proceedings. Although BWS has often been used in cases of self-defense, it has also been introduced as part of forced defense as well as by prosecutors to explain inconsistencies in the behavior of victims of domestic violence. Despite the frequency of criminal cases involving BWS in the United States, several concerns have been expressed about the continued use of BWS in criminal proceedings. Schneider, E. M. (1980).

Equal trial rights for women: sexual prejudice and the right to self-defence. Harvard Civil Rights Law Review, 15, 623-647. Second, BWS is no longer preferred. A 1996 report by the National Institute of Mental Health and the U.S. National Institute of Justice stated that “the term `battered woman syndrome` is no longer useful or appropriate” and recommended a shift to terminology “on abuse and its effects” (ref. 31, p. vii). Among other concerns, the report is concerned that the use of the term syndrome “could have connotations of pathology or disease, or could create a false perception that the battered woman `suffers` from a mental disability” (Ref. 31, p. vii). The use of the term BWS also risks ignoring the experiences of men, non-binary people, and people experiencing domestic violence in non-heterosexual or non-monogamous relationships.14,50,–,52 As a result, some have used or argued alternative terminologies such as “beating syndrome,” “battered partner syndrome,” or “battered person syndrome.” 52,53 In addition, the use of spousal violence appears to imply a predictable response to maltreatment, although, from a psychiatric perspective, the experience of spousal violence may manifest itself in different ways in different victims.13,31 The recognition of spousal violence in legal systems often reflects broader societal trends.3 Spousal violence perpetrated by men has always been accepted or tolerated as part of the of heterosexual marriage in many countries.4 For example, Buzawa and Buzawa noted in a 2003 review: “British common law has been used since the 17th century. It supports notions of male domination over women`s bodies” (Ref.

4, p. 60). The book describes how a husband who killed his wife could be charged with a lesser crime (e.g., manslaughter instead of murder) if she committed adultery, since adultery by a woman was considered a serious provocation.4 Domestic violence perpetrated by women did not always receive similar acceptance: “Until 1946, English courts have ruled that women do not experience anger like men. and adultery was not available as an excuse for women who killed philanthropic husbands” (Ref.

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