BATTERED-WOMAN SYNDROME

BATTERED-WOMAN SYNDROME

battered-woman syndrome. Family law. A constellation of medical and psychological conditions of a woman who has suffered physical, sexual, or emotional abuse at the hands of a spouse or lover. ? Battered-woman syndrome was first described in the early 1970s by Dr. Lenore Walker. It consists of a three-stage cycle of violence: (1) the tension-building stage, which may include verbal and mild physical abuse; (2) the acute battering stage, which includes stronger verbal abuse, increased physical violence, and perhaps rape or other sexual abuse; and (3) the loving-contrition stage, which includes the abuser’s apologies, attentiveness, kindness, and gift-giving. This syndrome is sometimes proposed as a defense to justify or mitigate a woman’s killing of a man. ¡ª Sometimes (more specif.) termed battered-wife syndrome; (more broadly) battered-spouse syndrome; (broadly) battered-person syndrome. [Cases: Criminal Law 474.4(3).]
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