Ch. 10: Battered Woman Syndrome
Thursday, May 24, 2011:00 PM
BatteredWoman Syndrome& Domestic Violence
- Low self-esteem
- Sensitivity to social cues
- Why didn't she just leave?
○ [Financially dependent, dependent for her children, social status, fear of death]
- Did she really suffer from battered woman syndrome?
- Is battered woman syndrome a 'justification' for killing?
○ [According to the law, there is no justification for killing]
- Can it be used as an insanity defense?
○ [Not classified as a mental illness in the DSM, cannot be used]
- Should abused women be imprisoned or receive psychological help?
- How much abuse is abuse? How much did he abuse her?
Domestic ViolenceIncidenceRates?[no need to remember numbers for test]
- 1993: Data from course textbook
- 29% of previously/currently married women
- 59% of women in BC report experiencing at least one incidence of violence
- 5.2% of marriages have serious, repetitive violence
- 21% of women abused by a partner were abused during pregnancy
○ Limited contact with family & friends (?jealousy)
○ Put downs & name calling to lower self-esteem
○ Harms, or threatens to harm, close other
○ Demands to know who you are with and where you are at all times
○ Damages or destroys spouse's possessions
○ Denies access to family income
VictimizationSurvey(2004): Questions VictimizationSurvey(2004): Questions
- In the past 5 years, has current/prior spouse or partner…
○ Threatened to hit you with his/her fist or anything else that could have hurt you?
○ Thrown anything at you that could have hurt you?
○ Pushed, grabbed, or shoved you in a way that could have hurt you?
○ Slapped you?
○ Kicked you, bit you, or hit you with his/her fist?
○ Hit you with something that could have hurt you?
○ Beaten you?, Choked you?
○ Used or threatened to use a gun or knife on you?
○ Forced you into unwanted sexual activity?
- 7% women, 6% men reported some physical or sexual violence
- Women had more serious, injurious, & repeated violence than men
○ More women (23%) than men (15%) reported being beaten, choked, or threatened with, or
had gun/knife used against them
○ More women (21%) than men (11%) reported > 10 violent episodes
○ More women (44%) than men (18%) sustained injury
- Being female
- Separation from abused (especially for women)-- violence increased at time of separation
- Rates for common-law relationships 3X higher than marital unions
- Partners of heavy drinkers 6X more likely to experience spousal violence than those whose partners
never drank heavily
Myths about AbusedWomen
1. They are masochists
2. They provoke assaults… not a myth!
3. They are free to leave at any time
• Why don't they leave… really?
○ Isolated from families
○ No financial means
○ Fear, e.g., Jane Corkum (aka Jane Stafford, Jane Whynot)
○ Other reasons include religious beliefs, shame, dependents, nowhere to go
- Syndrome = Group of symptoms that occur together and characterize a diseaseor disorder
- BWS = "a woman's presumed reactions to a pattern of continual physical and psychological abuse"
Componentsof BWS (Walker, 1984)
- (1) Learned (Psychological) helplessness
○ Lowered self-esteem
○ Impaired functioning
Loss of the assumption of safety ○ Loss of the assumption of safety
○ Fear & terror