Battered Woman Syndrome

Battered Woman Syndrome

  • Submitted By: spearmint
  • Date Submitted: 10/17/2011 6:20 AM
  • Category: Psychology
  • Words: 2643
  • Page: 11
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Battered Woman Syndrome 1 Running head: BATTERED WOMAN SYNDROME

Battered Woman Syndrome: Reshaping Legal Perspectives Your Name Edith Cowan University

Battered Woman Syndrome 2 Battered Woman Syndrome: Reshaping Legal Perspectives For centuries, women have failed to exist as neutral entities with their male counterparts within the legal framework of society (Westervelt, 1998). This is particularly problematic in the context of domestic violence where the female victim ultimately becomes enmeshed in the justice system (Westervelt, 1998). Historical perspectives on women in abusive relationships who attacked their batterers hindered the course of justice by denying battered women the avenue to prove self-defence (Jenkins & Kroll-Smith, 1996). This, coupled with the relevant laws that are largely shaped by the male experience, resulted in double victimisation for battered victims (Bartal, 1998). It was not until the late twentieth century that perspectives began to shift towards establishing gender equality in the judicial system (Westervelt, 1998). One influential development was Lenore Walker’s Battered  Woman Syndrome and its incorporation into the defence strategies of battered women (Walker, 1994). The following paper discusses the concept of this syndrome and its applicability in the legal sphere. A case study on the murder trial of Helen Secretary will also be discussed to further exemplify the use of the Battered Woman Syndrome as evidence in a legal defence. The Battered Woman Syndrome may assume a feminist bearing with the intention to reshape a predominately male-orientated institution, but it also seeks justice for women who have been severely victimised by their partners (Walker, 2000; Westervelt, 1998). It seeks to remap traditional perspectives that lacked empathy for the battered woman. Any person who is a victim of battering should be judged far beyond the immediate circumstances of the homicide (Walker, 2000). Justice implies a fair trial....

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