A justice-related issue that I see relevant to our society today is in relation to women who suffer from domestic violence/ battering. Batter Women Syndrome (BWS) has recently been reformed in the United States as the Batter Person Syndrome (BPS) to include men as potential victims of domestic violence/ batter. The term batter person syndrome has been recognized as a social issue and legal changes have taken place in the United States in order to protect individuals affected by domestic violence/ battering. My overall goal for this essay is to remind people of the historical origins behind this social issue, the advancements that have been made by our society in the legal system, and to suggest policy changes to improve the legal protection of domestic violence/battered women.
What are its historical origins?
The Unites States recognized battered women as a social and legal problem in the 1970’s. Prior to the 1970’s the English common law stated that men could punish his wife with a stick no bigger than his thumb. (The invincible women correct citation). The creation of BWS arose from the essentialism people had in the 1960’s that judge women who killed their spouse as either “evil” or “mentally sick”. The creation of BWS was still a concern with in many women due to the term “syndrome” being associated to mental illness. The negative connotation to women who killed their spouse still lingered yet, no one questioned why women were taking drastic measures?.
The social changes that started to rise from the revelation of domestic violence was the outset of a second wave of feminist activist in the 1970’s that were willing to break the silence in the United States against domestic violence/ battering. Francine Hughes became an important figure to the campaign against domestic violence/batter, by sharing her story of enduring 13 years of domestic abuse Hughes killed her husband by incinerated him while asleep in 1977. What sets Francine Hughes as an important figure for obtaining awareness to domestic violence was the requesting to introduce expert Batter Women Testimony (BWT) in her court case. In 1984 Francine Hughes was acquitted from all charges when the defendant plead insanity defense at the time the act was committed.
Due to domestic violence killing cases became more aware, the court decided that three general principles need to meet when the victimization took place. One: there was an imminence weapon (a weapon is of plain sight and the reaction must be an immediate one). Two: sufficient harm (prior acts of victimization had been occurring), three: reasonable (women or men should fear for their life and therefore in this act).In 2001 California made the changed of BWS to BPS where men can report battering and testify in court as experts witness. The changes made have in 2001 included the possibility of being charged with 1st degree man slaughter if the act committed was not justifiable.
How is this issue being addressed by our society? ...