The Battered Women Syndrome is a series of characteristics in women who are physically and psychologically abused by an important dominant male in their lives. These women learn helplessness and dependency; sometimes these characteristics originate from childhood. According to Dr.
Lenore E. Walker, a woman must experience two cycles, before she can be labeled a “battered woman”. The two cycles are called the “cycle of violence”. This cycle leads to the feeling that the abuse will never stop. It almost becomes natural. Sometimes the relationships will be calm, and the abuser will apologize for what happened.
This part is called the “honeymoon cycle”, but at other points in the cycle the tension and arguments just soar all the time (divorcenet.12-3-00). After years, the cycle starts to go quicker. At this point, the woman starts to feel trapped, because she would go through these cycles more than once a day. At some, certain point, she will have to act out in what is legally considered “self-defense”.
Stereotypes of battered women will always be around. Many people wonder why don’t the wives or girlfriends just get help?, why don’t they tell someone?, or just get up and leave. People fail to realize that leaving an abusive relationship can make matters worst. Some can’t leave because she is financially dependent or they have children, and/or their mates threaten to kill her and her children or take her children away. A real mother would never leave her children, in any situation.
The prosecutors usually always bring up these stereotypes of battered women. In some situations the woman will leave, but staying out is hard for her or he makes it hard for her. Once the woman leaves he will usually do his best to find her and when he does, he threatens her, or may embarrass her, and she’ll leave with him because of the scene he makes. In addition to all these reasons to why women stay in abusive relationships, is because women lose their self-esteem and eventually don’t have the energy to leave.
In order for the Battered Woman Syndrome claim to be used expert testimony is essential. This is needed in order to give matter to the argument that justifies what the woman did. It is also needed because there needs to be an explanation of the Syndrome to juries, in away they can understand.
Learned helplessness and other scientific knowledge need to be explained in order for the jury to understand. To understand what the woman is going through, what she was thinking at the time she committed the crime, and that she did it (murder her abuser) it because she honestly felt that it was the only solution in getting the “cycle of violence”. First, the women must show that she is able to prove either through her own testimony or through the testimony of other witnesses that she is a “battered woman”. She must then provide proof that the expert who she has chosen is qualified in the field. Some think that the defense based on Battered Woman Syndrome is an insanity defense, because of the experts who are brought in to explain the characteristics of the syndrome, psychologists or psychiatrists. Also because the word “syndrome” is often used to describe mental illnesses. “First her husband, now the courts”, is what one of the signs read at a march during the third trial of Idalia Mejia in 1978(Gillespie 165). In addition to the violent husband and the courts filled with prosecutors and confused jurors abuse a woman once she has tried to protect herself, but so do the police.
Police officers receive little training in dealing with domestic violence cases. The techniques are usually to defuse the situation. Rarely do officers make an arrest.
Police departments have what is called “stitch rule” this is a victim needs to have a certain amount of stitches before officers are required to make an arrest. People always ask the same question, well why did she call for help? When the woman finals builds up the courage to actually call the police for help, they arrive to do nothing for her except maybe make situation worst. The worst part of