Battered Woman Syndrome – Symptoms, Court Cases & Treatment


What is Battered Woman Syndrome?

Battered Woman Syndrome is believed to be a type of Post Traumatic Stress. It is an accepted mental disorder characterized by suffering from constant and/or grave domestic brutality. To be recognized as a battered woman, a person has to have suffered two cycles of maltreatment. A cycle consists of three phases; the tension-building stage, the explosion or acute battering incident, and the honeymoon phase, which is characterized by a calm and loving respite period. This cycle will continue again and again.

Battered Woman Syndrome pictures

Four General Characteristics (Symptoms)

The four general characteristics of Battered Woman Syndrome:

  1. The woman believes that the violence and abuse are her fault.
  2. The woman is unable to put the responsibility of the abuse elsewhere.
  3. The woman is afraid for her life and/or her children’s lives.
  4. The woman considers the abuser omnipresent and omniscient.

According to research, the spousal abuse is typically brought about by the man’s emotional insecurities, low self-esteem, and any history of family abuse rather than by problems with the relationship.



Legalities of Battered Woman Syndrome (Court Cases)

  1. Battered Woman Syndrome is used in criminal proceedings to prove self-defense.  It concerns the mental and emotional problems of women trapped in long-standing relationships withabusive husbands or partners.
  2. After awhile, the violence creates a psychological condition of “learned helplessness”, restraining freedom of choice, and putting victims of violence in a coil of struggle that often leads to a brutal and at times deadly reaction over which they have no control.
  3. The conventional legal notion of self-defense depends on a competition of equals more characteristic of struggles between men. The advocates of the Battered Woman Syndrome defense claim traditional principles of self-defense are insufficient to give an explanation in men-women struggles.
  4. Although the Battered Woman Syndrome defense has been reasoned effectively in a lot of cases, it has been challenged by psychologists and legal academics.

What To Do If You Are The Victim Of Abuse?

  1. Make an escape out of your house by any means. Go to a friend, relative, or shelter. Bring only what you need; the rest can be restored. Remember, things are merely things.
  2. Get a restraining order. Do not give in even if the abuser pleads, weeps, begs forgiveness, or tries to use the children or any other tactics to get you to return. Call the police and make use of your restraining order.
  3. Notify your employer and workplace. Your husband will frequently come near you while you are working. He will call you at work and even attempt to disrupt your job. Let your employer know that the police are to be called when this happens.
  4. Look for an excellent therapist. You might have to consult one or two until you discover the appropriate one for you. Remain in therapy. This is a lengthy course. Bear in mind you have been violated for a long time and therapy will take a long time, too.
  5. Observe your children, check their grades and schoolwork, and note their behaviour to see if they require a therapist. Based on their ages, they may have a difficult time understanding why they can’t see their dad.
  6. Empower yourself. Through therapy, you will gradually begin to feel powerful, believe in your choices, and appreciate your capacities. You have suffered emotionally as well as physically.
  7. Learn from the past, but do not dwell on it. Create your own new path.
  8. Try different treatments. Medications can help you for a short period of time. Spiritual therapy and group therapy are both effective. In group therapy you will come to know different women who share the same problems. You are not alone.
  9. Call your friends. Even if you lost contact with them while you were being abused, you are now free and chances are they miss hearing from you.
  10. Call your parents and talk to them about what happened. Share the truth with them. Spend your time with your family. Their love and support will greatly help with your treatment

If you would like more information about this topic, please leave a question or comment and the author will be happy to respond.

Proofreaded and edited for grammar and accuracy by Andrea on 2/10/2012



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11 Responses to “Battered Woman Syndrome – Symptoms, Court Cases & Treatment”

  • paula says:

    i was in this situation a number of years ago i didnt believe then nor do i believe now that it was my fault.the blame was truly his,, he was a bastard true and true he has bad blood so i dont think it is always the case that women blame themselves, not always,

    • Dr. Peach says:

      Paula, what you may have experienced is simple physical violence (i mean simple because there is no cognitive problem in you thinking that it is your fault). battered woman syndrome is a combination of physical abuse from your spouse, feeling that you are dependent on him and thinking that it is your fault (that’s why the term syndrome). You may be lucky than other women because those who really have battered woman syndrome has more difficultly getting out of the relationship. But acquiring physical violence or any form of violence is really difficult so women should stay empowered.

  • sharon says:

    Hello my name is Sharon and I was in an abisive relationship and I have been out of it for 9 years I still don’t blame him idk y I do have a 15 year old daughter and she gets mad at me cause I still wont talk bad about him nor will I allow her that is her father I still live by the same rules I don’t know how to change my behavior I still do have fear of him but I do not let him know he still has that power UI’m still in fear even though he doesnt do anything people think I should been over it by now I don’t like to talk about it nor I just feel once u get out than what I lived it for so long its hard to live when u live like that for so long I do cherish my little bit of freedom like I wasnt allowed to ride a bus so I try to go everywhere its just very hard to live a normal live I still look over my shoulder everyone says get out but once ur out than what????? Easier said than done

    • sharon says:

      sry I ment abusive and also I was with him from the age 15 till I was 25 it was easier to do everything he was doing once I got out cause thats all I knew I know now that the things he was doing were wrong

    • corinne says:

      It might never ever leave you completely abuse is something you learn to live with but dont always fully recover from but believe me life gets better!! You become stronger and you learn to laugh and make your own choices again …. you will learn to love your freedom ! and when your ready talking helps. best of luck

  • eloi says:

    were justice for women men can do whatever they want and why are they being forced to leave there homes .go on the street with children why dont you just hand control and teach him theres no consqeince for his action a million in one socail path runnning in the free country , what is wrong this picture when you throw women and children under bus you didnt see indains do that before white man come here women children first and elderly , family value s were did they go

  • [...] If you don’t call it quits at the very first strike, the chance of you falling victim to the Battered Woman Syndrome (this applies to men, too) will also increase over time, and it’ll only become harder for you [...]

  • leslie says:

    Will I don’t know were to start!!! I’ve been with my husband for 26 years and its been so hard he used to beat me up all tha time and I don’t know why I didn’t leave him!! He has made my life a living Hell…. He’s always screaming and cussing at me nothing I ever do is rite…. My 26 year old daughter got killed 4 months ago tomorrow and he just don’t care she wasn’t his and he thinks I should be ok… But I’m not I have sever panic attacks…. He call me names I wouldn’t even call my dog……. But I don’t know how to leave him…..

  • jenny says:

    Been married for twenty years and have been abused all the years of marriage. It began with him drinking and coming home accusing me of cheating and yelling at which escalated to him hitting me. And each time he would drink, this process repeated. Afterward, he began to isolate me from the family and often being mean. Taking the children to prevent me from spending time with them and calling me names and disrespecting me in front of them. How can I get out? Who can help me?

  • jeana burke says:

    Hi, I grew up seeing my mom abused, thus my self now that Iam older being abused. I married in 1999 and divorced in 8/2008. The abuse was regular, I thought i could handle this. Yet I didn’t know how server until I had my Son in 2006 and it happened in front of him, DCF got involved and read off how many protective orders were written up just in my case thru that span of time. I believed than it was true. I don’t know why I kept coming back though, can you truly love your abuser? even when he is physically and verbally abusing you?. We got back together because I felt sorry and wanted to help him. He would say he has no one to turn to and his family that is near to him, is not even there. I guessed being that it was some space between us and the last incident, he went back to Church and reconsiled his faith back and just loves his Son. I decided to give him another chance. Well with in 6 months, he starts to verbally abuse me in front of my son. My now has a sever emotional disorder . I am not sure if this derived from this or not. I have recently left my home with my son, staying at afriends home temporarily. Now i feel that he if i go back home, he wil be there to hurt me, stock me, or break in to my home and hurt me. What is happening to me? Please help me

  • marie says:

    I have been in a relationship with a man for almost 30 years. We have 5 children. All of these years have been abusive , physically, mentally, financially, emotionally . Because of his life style, he has found himself having nothing at the end of his life and blaming it all on me. He is forcing me to find employment and when nothing comes up he makes it very difficult for me cope. I use to be able to
    to cope but now I am tired , a thousand miles away from family
    and broke. I have no friends, car, or money here. I think I have post traumatic stress disorder . Do I have to go though hell again to see a light?


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