Let’s know about Battered Woman Syndrome: A New form of violence
Battered Woman Syndrome is a pattern of signs and symptoms exhibited by a woman who has suffered ongoing intimate partner violence: whether psychological, physical, or sexual.
This is classified as a syndrome in ICD whereas DSM does not recognize it as a separate syndrome and it falls under the subcategory of post-traumatic stress disorder. The most extensive research on this condition was first done by Lenore E walker who was trying to explain why women continue to live with their abusive male counterparts.
Symptoms for diagnosis
The person fears for his life. They are afraid for more than 4 weeks. Performance at work or other important daily activities is affected. They are being manipulated through threats of violence, unwanted sex, degradation by partners, isolation from others, and more. They do not like their bodies and have somatic health problems. Problems of sexual intimacy also start to occur.
Process of Development
The syndrome develops in response to a three-stage cycle occurring in situations of intimate partner violence. First, tension builds in the relationship. Second, the abusive partner releases tension through violence and blames the victim for the violence. Third, gestures of contribution are being made by the abusive partner. However, the partner does not find a solution to avoid the next phase of tension building and release, so the cycle repeats itself. Repetition of violence, despite the abuser's attempts to "play nice", leads to the abused partner feeling guilty for not preventing the repeated cycle of violence. However, because the victim is not to blame and the violence is internally controlled by the abuser, this self-blame leads to feelings of helplessness rather than empowerment. The feeling of responsibility and powerlessness to stop the violence leads in turn to depression and passivity. This learned depression and passivity make it difficult for the abused partner to secure the resources and support system needed to leave.
Feelings of depression and passivity can also be caused by a lack of social support outside of the violent situation.
Reasons for continuing to stay in abusive relationships
Many abused women remain in abusive relationships. There are several reasons which make them not leave the violent relationship. These include:
She fears that if she left, she would have no way to support herself or her children. She may come from an abusive environment and "is forced to look for the good in her partner, just as she had to see the good in her parents," An abused woman remembers why she fell in love with her partner and believes they can get back to where they started. He probably has low self-esteem. He believes he only gets what he deserves. She may also fear that if her partner finds out she wants to leave, it will only increase the abuse.
Use of the syndrome in legal defense
Battered women's syndrome is used as a legal defense. In most cases, battered women killing their husbands depended on whether or not the defendant's actions were reasonable in the given situation. When Battered Women's Syndrome entered the criminal justice system as a legal defense, it began to produce testimony that supported the existence of psychological trauma suffered by battered defendants because the reasonable man test need not consider the dimension of battered women's behavior. Self-defense of sudden provocation does not allow for the possibility that the woman might also lose control and kill her abuser in fear, and the use of defenses was not scripted.
Battered syndrome and the Indian Legal System
In India, domestic violence is a social evil and there are two types of exceptions available as a defense to murder under the Indian Penal Code. The first type is the general exceptions which are set out in sections 76 to 106 and the second type is the set of specific statutory exceptions which are set out for section 300 which defines murder. However, it can be seen that there is no express statutory recognition of battered women syndrome under Indian law. Under the Indian Penal Code, none of the exceptions are considered prima facie applicable in a case involving battered offenders. This paper argues for the need to apply battered women's syndrome and the demand to change the existing legal framework so that the acts of battered women are seriously threatened and sudden provocations and the right to private defense.
Short-term side effects:- can be many which include the development of depression in the person, self-esteem of the person is lowered, relationships with friends and family are also strained and broken, the development of severe anxiety in the individual, and the emergence of feeling worthless or hopeless, feeling out of control, etc.
Long-term side effects include:- PTSD-like symptoms, including flashbacks, dissociative states, and violent outbursts toward the abuser, health problems caused by stress, such as high blood pressure and related heart problems, and health problems from physical abuse, such as damaged joints or arthritis, chronic back or headache pain, increased risk of diabetes, asthma, depression and immune dysfunction due to long-term stress.
These symptoms can stay for a very long period of time and adversely affect the psychological and physical well-being of an individual.
After leaving an abusive relationship, it takes a long time for the individual to cope with the physical, mental, and emotional trauma which was being caused and requires a lot of support system for the same.
Options that can help with recovery include:
learning about the impact of abuse, including how it affects self-esteem, psychotherapy can be beneficial to deal with the emotional consequences, medical care can be sought out to treat any physical effects or injuries, and medications can also help to treat depression, anxiety, insomnia, and other related conditions and going for support groups CBT all can be beneficial for treating this disorder.
Group CBT can give people the opportunity to share what they've been through with others who have had a similar experience and connect with others in finding new ways to cope. It is essential to create an atmosphere where members can feel comfortable and share their thoughts and feelings.
According to Indian jurisprudence, battered women syndrome has not made much progress. Thus, further progress is needed in other jurisdictions related to battered women's syndrome. The most important imperative of the Indian law on battered women syndrome is to recognize the psychological aspect of battered women. The law should protect her human dignity when deciding on the matter and nature of the abused woman's case. The law should also take into account the social, cultural, political, and economic circumstances of battered women, and maintaining a focus on violence and protecting the rights of battered women will help challenge the traditional stereotype experienced by women in India and help in removing gender bias under the Indian Penal Code.