Critical Thinking on Battered Woman Syndrome

Paper Type:  Critical thinking
Pages:  2
Wordcount:  482 Words
Date:  2021-04-22

What are the self-defense laws as they apply to your personal defense against an offender as well as your defense on behalf on another victim?

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The Model Penal Code provides applicable criminal law standards that influence self-defense laws in most states (Brody & Acker, 2010). Self-defense laws are applicable in most assault and battery cases. In personal defense, the laws demand that one must show a threat of unlawful force against them, no harm or any provocation on their part, there were no chances of retreating, and a real and honest perceived fear of harm. On behalf of another victim, the self-defense laws require that an individual must have an honest and perceived fear of harm to another person to establish a defense.

What is Battered Woman Syndrome and how does that law relate to self-defense?

Battered Woman Syndrome originated in the mid-1970s. It has been associated with the pioneering research of feminist psychologist Dr. Lenore Walker. According to Walker, Battered Woman Syndrome applies to women who have experienced a repetitive cycle of violence in any of these three forms: physical, sexual, or psychological. In most cases, the perpetrator of these violent acts is a man with whom the woman has been in an intimate relationship. The Battered Woman Syndrome mainly manifests itself in two components: a cycle of violence and learned helplessness. In the context of self-defense, Battered Woman Syndrome was introduced to combat the sex-bias in the criminal law. Before the introduction and development of this concept, the Law did not recognize the reason why a woman could use force when she killed her batterer (Russell, 2010). Therefore, many scholars developed this concept to bring to the limelight the experiences of battered women and why actions their actions in self-defense were justified.

What defense to prosecution is provided to women under the laws of the Battered Woman Syndrome?

Under the laws of Battered Woman Syndrome, women who kill their batterers may claim the killing was committed in self-defense. Under criminal laws, self-defense is classified as an act of justification in that the action is correct under the circumstances. In defense to prosecution, the laws of Battered Woman Syndrome require that the defendants demonstrate that their acts of self-defense meet requirements as stated in the Model Penal Code (Russell, 2010). In most case, the state defines the legal standard for a claim of self-defense. Therefore, at the time of the act, the defendant must have believed she was in imminent danger of unlawful bodily harm, used a reasonable amount of force in response to the danger, must not have been the aggressor, and that she did not have the opportunity to retreat safely under the circumstances.


Brody, D. C., & Acker, J. R. (2010). Criminal law. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Russell, B. L. (2010). Battered woman syndrome as a legal defense: History, effectiveness and implications. Jefferson, N.C: McFarland & Co., Publishers.

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Critical Thinking on Battered Woman Syndrome. (2021, Apr 22). Retrieved from

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