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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 99515 Find in a Library
Title: Battered Women Who Murder - Victims or Offenders (From Changing Roles of Women in the Criminal Justice System - Offenders, Victims, and Professionals, P 197-216, 1985, Imogene L Moyer, ed. - See NCJ-99505)
Author(s): A F Kuhl
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 20
Sponsoring Agency: Waveland Press, Inc.
Long Grove, IL 60047
Sale Source: Waveland Press, Inc.
4180 IL Route 83
Suite 101
Long Grove, IL 60047
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: An analysis of several cases of murder of husbands by wives who had experienced years of battering concludes that the battered woman syndrome is a valid defense and that wife abuse will continue as long as unequal power relationships exist between husbands and wives.
Abstract: The issue of imminent danger is central to the case law involving self-defense. The existence of intent or premeditation is crucial to the type of homicide charge. However, contrary to the common view that violent people are abnormal, women who kill their batterers are normal people except that a loved one has battered them over a period of years. In each of six cases in which the author served as an expert witness for the court between 1977-82, each woman who killed her husband qualified for the battered woman syndrome defense although the women entered several types of pleas, and the charges against them varied. These women, who were insecure, dependent, and socially isolated, learned that they could not prevent the battering and that the police would not help them. Rittenmeyer has presented three arguments against the battered woman syndrome as a defense: (1) that it tries to avoid the requirement of imminent danger, (2) that it exploits traditional stereotypes of women, and (3) that it is a sex-based classification that violates due process and equal protection rights of male defendants. However, each argument has major flaws. Finally, battered women will not achieve justice until society and the legal system recognize the effects of sexism. Notes and 23 references are supplied.
Index Term(s): Abused women; Battered woman syndrome; Criminal justice system reform; Female deviance; Homicide causes
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