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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 139948 Find in a Library
Title: Battered Woman Syndrome: Misunderstood?
Journal: Current Issues in Criminal Justice  Volume:3  Issue:3  Dated:special issue (March 1992)  Pages:356-361
Author(s): J Stubbs
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 6
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: This article addresses some of the issues feminists have expressed about the battered woman syndrome (BWS) and its use as grounds for self-defense in cases where women kill their battering partners.
Abstract: Some of the key issues include the concept of learned helplessness, which is presumed to reinforce stereotypes about women's passivity and irrationality; the "medicalizing" of women's experiences; the use of expert witnesses; and the failure of BWS to be successful in all court appearances or to apply to all women who have lived in a battering situation. The author argues that most of these perceptions are based on a misunderstanding of the cycle of violence, learned helplessness, and BWS and that BWS does not portray women as sick but rather as perpetrating a justifiable act of homicide. She concludes that Australian defendants should have the opportunity to use BWS as means of exoneration and to broaden narrow interpretations of self-defense. 10 footnotes
Main Term(s): Battered woman syndrome
Index Term(s): Australia; Crime in foreign countries; Female victims; Homicide; Self defense; Victims of violent crime
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