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Battered woman syndrome and New York city

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Battered Woman Syndrome.
  3. Self-Defense.
  4. Critiques of the concept.
  5. Conclusion: The OCDV.

Though domestic violence, as an issue, is important enough for the mayor of have an office dedicated to the phenomenon (Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence) and several local laws that protect victims of domestic violence, the city government remains largely silent on the concept of "battered woman syndrome." This remains the case ? for example the OCDV's website contains no mention of the syndrome? despite the fact that since the mid-1980s, judges in New York City have allowed battered women defenses. (New York Times, p.1) As early as 1991, it was believed "that as many as a quarter of the 326 New York women now serving time for homicide or attempted homicide might have killed because of abusive relationships

[...] This theory may explain the response of some battered women. It has certainly been widely accepted in the courts, but it has not been particularly successful. Self-Defense Self-defense law, it can be said, is designed for men, and specifically men encountering other men in the public sphere. It assumes two relatively equal combatants with limited knowledge of each other in a single, short- term confrontation where both parties can see a clear beginning and end to the fray. It focuses on a single violent encounter where the combatants, knowing little about each other, evaluate the imminence of the situation and respond reasonably with only the force necessary to protect themselves from death or serious bodily harm in the moment. [...]


[...] Battered Woman Syndrome Battered woman syndrome is a combination psychological and legal claim: a woman, having been battered repeatedly over a period of time, strikes back and kills or incapacitates the perpetrator, as the long history of abuse has created the belief that the only defense against further abuse is murder. Charles Patrick Ewing makes the claim that such women kill in "psychological self-defense" (Ewing, p.581) and should thus be given the same chance at total exoneration as someone who kills or commits an assault within the legal system's traditional understanding of self-defense. [...]

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