The Controversial Concept Of Battered Woman Syndrome

1121 Words5 Pages
Battered Woman Syndrome The controversial concept of Battered Woman Syndrome (BWS) is a psychological theory that aims to explain the behavior of certain women who suffer abuse from their husbands, partners, or significant others. The theory was first proposed and introduced by Dr. Lenore Walker in the 1970’s based on her clinical observations. It then quickly became a common way to validate criminal behavior of women who were charged with the murder of their partner, however since the syndrome wasn’t confirmed through scientific research as a real disorder, it didn’t enjoy widespread support from the forensic psychologist’s community. Learned Helplessness Originally, battered woman syndrome was termed as learned helplessness. Walker…show more content…
Battered women stay in these perilous relationships for a variety of reasons, including: • still being positively reinforced by the "honeymoon" phase of the battering cycle • financial dependence upon the batterer • false belief that they can keep the peace • distress of danger if she were to leave • threats made by the batterer to hurt her or her children if she left • loss of self-confidence • depression or loss of psychological energy necessary to leave As determined by Dr. Walker 's The Battered Woman Syndrome (p. 95-97, 1984), there are four common characteristics of the disorder: 1. The woman believes that the violence was or is her fault. 2. The woman has an inability to place the responsibility for the violence elsewhere. 3. The woman fears for her life and/or her children 's lives. 4. The woman has an irrational belief that the abuser is omnipresent and omniscient. Women who are chronically battered has been categorized as a subclass of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is composed of the following symptoms: re-living the battering as if it were reoccurring even when it is not, efforts to circumvent the psychological effect of battering by avoiding activities, people, and emotions, hyperarousal or hypervigilance, disrupted interpersonal relationships, body image distortion or other somatic concerns, and sexuality
Get Access