Battered Women Syndrome


BatteredWomen Syndrome


  • Abstract: Presents the problem and the case that gives the need for researching and learning more about.

  • Battered Women Syndrome: provides an introductory overview of the Battered Women Syndrome as a psychological disorder.

  • Psychological Stages of the : Provides a discussion of the stages that mark the existence and development of the Battered Women Syndrome.

  • Symptoms of the : A discussion that enumerates the symptoms that are portrayed by a woman with the .

  • Aiding the Victims of : The discussion seeks to examine the ways in which professionals can assist women with

  • Battered Women Syndrome and the Law: a discussion that takes a legal view of the and how the situation can be understood as a domestic violence problem.

  • Conclusion: This is an overview of the Battered Women Syndrome as a psychological problem and a summary of the research on the condition.


Accordingto a report by the U.S Bureau of Justice, 78% of total violenceagainst women in the United States was perpetrated by an intimaterelationship partner of a family member (Kanel &amp Mallers, 2015).The report further reports thataround 89,000 cases of rape against women are reported annually inthe United States alone (Kanel &amp Mallers, 2015).The statistics show a continuedviolation of a woman`s right has contributed to the development andprevalence of a condition called the . This isa mental disorder that is to blame for the continued abuse of basicwomen rights. The purpose of this study is to investigate BatteredWomen Syndrome and understand the reason why women still cling toabusive marriages or relationships that are clearly unhealthy. Itwill help appreciate and understand the legal perspectives ofunderstanding the syndrome and how to aid women affected by thesyndrome.

BatteredWomen Syndrome

Batteredwomen Syndrome is a type of mental disorder that is primarily causedby domestic violence. The woman usually suffers physical andpsychological abuse from mostly their partners. Because this abusepersists for a long time, the woman develops a mental breakdown. Shebecomes depressed, passive and feels helpless from saving themselvesfrom that abusive situation (Walker, 2009). She usually holds on tothat hope that one day her abuser would stop abusing her. This mentaldisorder makes the woman to remain fearful and extremely weak and atthe mercy of her abuser. Because of this, the abuser continues totake advantage of her mental condition and develops unending cycle ofphysical and mental abuse.

Thismental disorder has been recognized by many states. It has been inexistence for many years when women`s rights were violated. Many lawsthat were repressive to women were to account for domestic violencethat led to battered women syndrome (Walker, 2009). To someretrogressive cultures battering a woman was recognized as alegitimate cultural tradition. For this reason, women were made tobelieve that they deserve the abuse they got. That abuse was unfairlyjustified. However, many countries and states through reformedpolicies have helped curb this menace. There exist many organizationsthat offer legislative and medical support systems for the victimssuffering from the battered syndrome.

PsychologicalStages of a

&nbsp&nbspThefirst stage is the denial stage. At this stage, a woman firmlyrefuses to believe that there is a problem in the relationship(Matevosyan,2014). This is usually whenclearly there is tension in the relationship. After a woman performsa task contrary to her husband’s expectation, she is physically ormentally abused. At this stage, she terms her mistakes or herhusband’s as ‘accidents’. She continually continues to excuseher abuser every time she is abused. In fact, she starts doing ‘nice’things for her husband the abuser, hoping to please him. She hopesthat one day her abuser will stop abusing her and they will be happygain. That hope makes her stay in the abusive relationship.

Thesecond psychological stage is the guilt stage. At this stage, thewoman admits that there is in fact a problem in her marriage(Matevosyan,2014). Although she admits tothat problem, she bears all responsibility and sees no fault in herabuser. She believes that her character is faulty and unpleasant. Shesees herself unworthy and admits that her actions did not please herabuser. She firmly believes that she deserves the abuse because shedid something wrong. It is at this stage that the abuser becomes moreviolent, because the victim is vulnerable and too willing to beabused. This abuse may be physical beating, sexual, psychological ormental abuse. It is at this stage that she embraces solitude andisolates herself from her friends and family.

Thethird stage is known as the enlightenment stage (Matevosyan,2014). At this stage the womanadmits that her marriage is in a rocky situation and she no longerblames herself for that. This is because despite the many attempts,she has made to please her abuser have been in vain. The cycle ofabuse is still very evident, but she hopes to save her relationship.At this stage, she develops tactics to save her dying relationship(Sokoloff&amp Pratt, 2005). She hopesthat whatever the problem is, she will work out things with herhusband. She no longer sees herself as responsible for the damage andno feels that it is right to be abused. As a result, her abuseradmits to his wrongdoings and apologizes for his uncalled foractions. He then seeks forgiveness from his wife. His wife forgiveshim, but the cycle restarts thereafter.&nbsp

Thefinal stage of this disorder is known as the responsibility stage(Matevosyan,2014). At this stage, a womanfeels guilty that it is her mistakes that have led to that abuse. Shefeels extremely helpless at this stage. This is because she has triedto do everything to make her husband stop abusing her, but nothinghas worked (Sokoloff&amp Pratt, 2005). She realizesthat she is too hopeless to escape this violent relationship. Sheknows that her relationship is helpless at this stage and is beyondredemption. At this stage she is left with two main choices to stayin that abusive relationship and be a hopeless victim of persistentdomestic violence or decide to be her own responsibility and helpherself out of the abusive relationship (Matevosyan,2014). It is at this stage thatthe battered woman may help herself and decide not to submit herselfto abuse and seek help. It is also at this stage the battered womansuccumbs to the abuses in her relationship and falls deeply to thebattered woman syndrome.

Symptomsof the

Thereare specific physical characteristics that manifest in a womansuffering from this mental disorder. The main one that is prominentwhen speaking with a physically abused woman is the sense of guilt(Walker, 2009). Often she blames herself for whatever that led to herphysical abuse and totally excuse husband. She defends his actionsand believes that the abuse was justified.&nbsp The woman finds itvery impossible to blame her husband for the abuse. The victim alsoshows significant signs of hyper vigilance (Walker, 2009). She fearsfor her safety. This is because she does not approve of thepsychological impacts that come about with the abuse. She often takesinto account her every move and doing. She is too careful not toengage in unpleasant deeds that may trigger her husband’s abuse.She goes out of her way to do nice things to her abusive husband sothat she prevents the possibility of abuse.

Thevictim also shows significant signs of helplessness (Walker, 2009).She believes that she is at the mercy of her abuser and that shecannot do anything to help herself. She holds to the fact that herabuser is very powerful and she dreads him to the highest level. Shecannot believe that anybody can save her from the hands of herabuser. She knows for a fact that if she seeks any help from theauthorities or anyone, she will be hurt her abuser and as a result beabused.

Thevictim shows many signs of alienation. She avoids other people andany social event that will make her meet other people. She keeps toherself and even avoids doing the things that she loved doing. Shestops completely taking care of her physical image and shows poorsigns of hygiene and nutrition (Walker, 2009). Her physical outlookis different from her natural look. There are great signs ofdepression in abused women. Many result to abusing drugs and alcoholas a measure of healing the psychological pain.

&nbspAidingthe Victims of

Womenwith this mental disorder should seek local enforcement authorityhelp. This is an important step in helping a victim of domesticviolence from the hands of an abuser. After this woman seeks help,the law enforcers usually make the arrest and legal proceedings areinitiated. It is however important to note the mental condition ofsuch women. They may feel sorry for their abusers, usually theirhusbands and may want to stop the proceedings (Walker, 2009). This isin an effort to salvage her relationship or marriage. They may go tolarge extents of changing their statements.

Inmost cases, victims of domestic violence usually the women with thebattered woman syndrome change their statements to protect theirabusers (Walker, 2009). However, this is a criminal act that mayresult in criminal charges. When law proceedings have started andarrests have been made, it is important to note that it does notstop. This is because the judicial systems are familiar with thismental disorder. Hence, her effort to help saving her abuser oftenhas little or no effects to the proceedings of the law enforcement.&nbsp

Victimsof battered woman syndrome, who have reported their abusers to theauthorities, often show high levels of fear. This is in the presenceof their abusers. In court, however, an abused woman is expected totestify against her abuser in court (Sokoloff&amp Pratt, 2005). This is amajor problem considering her mental and psychological illness thatmakes her dread to commit such an act. For this reason, there is agreat need for support systems to be effected in an effort to helpthese women get past their ordeal. To this effect, some judicialsystem offers support to these women through support aids. These arepeople that help the victims to successfully testify in courtsagainst their abusers (Walker, 2009). This is an essential andimportant initiative by the courts.&nbsp

Otherthan legal actions, some victims may approach organization bodiesthat offer support for such women (Walker, 2009). Most of theorganizations have been formed to protect women and their rights(Sokoloff&amp Pratt, 2005). Theseorganizations offer important support in bailing women from abusiverelationships. They offer psychological counseling to these women tohelp them gain a healthy mental status to start a new life. Theseorganizations also offer financial help to help the woman to besufficiently self reliant and preventing the need of going back tothe abusive relationship because of economical difficulties. It isimportant to note that most states implementing women empoweringprograms that seek to promote a healthy and successful life of awoman.

BatteredWomen Syndrome and the Law

Domesticviolence has been classified as a criminal offense in many countries(Walker, 2009). Laws have been set up to protect women’s rights andallay the affliction of this unpleasant psychological Informationabout this condition has spread globally. In that context there arelaws that have been set up to protect these women. In this case,there are battered women during their abusive relationships end upinjuring or even killing their abusive spouse. Such scenarios arevery common with women having this mental disorder (Sokoloff&amp Pratt, 2005). They commitsuch acts as defensive mechanisms or to assure of future protectionfrom abuse by killing their abusive spouses. Many countries haverecognized this problem and as a result legally protect these abusedwomen.

Thecourts recognize this as a mitigation act against abuse. In such,they argue that a woman who commits murder in an abusive relationshiphad the reasonableness of the state of mind to commit such acts(Walker, 2009). The continued abuse either physical or psychologicalis cited as the main factors that propel such a woman to act in thatmanner. Her unpleasant experience and persistent abuse from theabuser are considered by the court to be the driving factors tohaving the condition of battered woman syndrome.

Casesof Battered women syndrome are treated in the domestic violence lawas many of the victims are victims of family or relationshipviolence. A report by the U.S Bureau of Justice indicated that 78% ofdomestic violence cases were perpetrated by a close family member ora sexual partner (Kanel &amp Mallers, 2015).The gravity of this inhuman actis made worse when more and more women are getting abused and only afew report their abusers.


Batteredwomen syndrome is as a result of violation of basic human rights.There are many programs and organizations on women`s rights that havebeen formed to help identify victims of domestic violence. There arelaws and stringent measures that the government has set up to protectand avert this epidemic. It is important to have basic education forthe empowerment of women to make them learn and understand theexisting laws and their basic rights. In extreme cases, some batteredwomen have succumbed to the hands of their perpetrators and as aresult even died. It is therefore very important to bring forth theeffects of this syndrome. There are many reasons that force an abusedwoman not to report this crime. Some of the reasons are emotionaldependence, lack of economic stability or social ridicule. All theseare not valid reasons to excuse this inhuman act. Everyone shouldplay a role in eradicating domestic violence and consequently avertthis mental disorder.


Kanel,K., &amp Mallers, M. (2015). AnOverview of the Human Services. NewYork: Cengage Learning

Matevosyan,N.R. (2014). The Battered Woman Syndrome: Perspectives in CriminalLaw and Clinical Psychology.NorthCharleston: CreatespaceIndependent Publishing

Sokoloff,N.J. &amp Pratt, C. (2005). DomesticViolence at the Margins: Readings on Race, Class, Gender, andCulture.New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press

Walker,L.E. (2009), BatteredWoman Syndrome.New York: Springer Publishing Company

Walker,E. L. (2009). Psychiatrist Times.Battered Woman Syndrome.&lt October, 2015