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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Gender Studies
- Sociology and Political Science