Authors
Sally J. Scholz
Villanova University
Abstract
The Battered Woman Syndrome, like the Cycle Theory of Violence, helps to illuminate the situation of the person victimized by domestic violence. However, it may also contribute to the violence of the battering situation. In this paper, I explore some of the implications of the Battered Woman Syndrome for domestic violence cases wherein an abused woman kills her abuser. I begin by delineating some of the circumstances of a domestic violence situation. I then discuss the particular moral issue of subjectivity or moral personhood involved in instances wherein a woman victimized by domestic violence responds by killing her batterer. Finally, I argue that the Battered Woman Syndrome and similar alternatives to or qualifications of self-defense are problematic because they strip a woman of her moral subjectivity. I conclude with a brief articulation of a proposal for reform of the criminal justice system specifically aimed at cases wherein there has been a long history of abuse or violence. This reform is unique because it does not rely on a separate standard of reasonableness particular to battered women, but arises out of consideration of the moral implications of legal proceedings involving domestic violence.
Keywords Conference Proceedings  Contemporary Philosophy
Categories No categories specified
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ISBN(s) 9781634350518
DOI 10.5840/wcp20-paideia199842786
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