The words change, but the melody lingers

Kathleen J. Ferraro

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Acceptance of expert testimony on the battered woman syndrome in criminal and civil cases has established expectations about "real" battered women that reinforce conventional notions of femininity. Despite well-documented and publicized analyses of the status of the syndrome as no longer reflecting the range of knowledge relevant to battered women in legal settings, the expectations of helplessness promoted by the syndrome persist. In this article, specific cases are discussed in which the characteristics described in the syndrome are contrasted with the assertiveness, strength, and strategic decision making expressed by female defendants who had been battered. The negative consequences of the persistence of the battered woman syndrome in court are also described.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)110-129
Number of pages20
JournalViolence Against Women
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


Dive into the research topics of 'The words change, but the melody lingers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this