1. Under current law, what circumstances must exist for an incident to be determined a clear case of self-defense?
Self-defense is defined as the use of reasonable force to protect oneself or family from bodily harm (Hill& Hill, 2013). This means that any person who is threatened with bodily harm can legally retaliate with reasonable force to protect against bodily harm or death. Most states define this as equal or the least amount of force necessary to stop danger when the person perceives imminent danger of bodily harm or death (Fulero & Wrightsman, 2010). The circumstances that must be present for the act to be determined self-defense includes a serious threat of harm, imminence of danger, no responsibility in the provocation of the confrontation, equal force or force that does not exceed the amount of force needed to disable the attacker, and in some states a rule of retreat (Ewing, 1990). The act will only be determined as self-defense if the person reasonably believed that the threat was imminent and that the threat of bodily harm or death constituted the use of the force used.
2. Approximately what percentage of battered women have been sexually abused (e.g., raped, raped with an object, raped in front of their children, etc.) by their spouses/partners?
According to some studies, 60% of battered women are sexually abused by their partners including raped, raped in front of their children, or raped with objects (Ewing, 1990).
3. Describe the stages of Walker’s cycle of violence, including what sorts of incidents/behaviors occur at each phase.
Lenore Walker developed a cycle theory of violence in relationships with battering (Ewing, 1990). The first phase is called the tension-building phase. In this phase, the batterer begins with verbal and minor abuse. The abused partner begins to develop feelings of tension and nervousness about the abuse. Next is the acute battering incident. In this phase, the abuse escalates to more severe abuse which can include emotional, physical, and sexual abuse resulting in the establishment intimidation (Fulero & Wrightsman, 2010). The next phase is the contrite phase. In this phase, the batterer may become remorseful and apologetic offering promises and gifts to the abused. The batterer may also develop feelings of guilt, remorse, and even denial. The batterer makes the abused believe that the incident will not be repeated and offer signs of remorse to the abused. The last phase in the cycle is the calm phase. In this phase, the abused will forgive the abuse or disregard the abuse (Fulero & Wrightsman, 2010). Through this phase, there is not abuse and the woman may be encouraged to change or that the batterer has changed. The cycle then continues with another tension-building phase and continues through each phase. However, with each completion of one cycle, the violence level begins to escalate more.
4. What is learned helplessness and how has it been applied to battered woman syndrome (BWS)?