Anight of November 1910, Pietro Napolitano attacked his spouse, Angelina, with aknife which resulted to several injuries in her body. Pietro worked as an onand off laborer and it is not enough to sustain the whole family.
He beganpressuring Angelina to earn money by prostitution; and if she refused herspouse would beat her even though she is 6 months pregnant. When Pietro wassleeping in their room, Angelina took an axe and hit her sleeping husband fourtimes in the neck and head thus killing him. During the trial, Uriah McFadden,Angelina’s lawyer argued that experiencing abuse constantly has driven the wifeto kill her spouse; despite all of that it was ruled as inadmissible evidencearguing that if anybody injured months ago could give that as justification orexcuse for slaying a person. The trial lasted for only three hours declaringAngelina as guilty and to be sentenced for execution, a month after Angelinagave birth. Intimate-partner abuse has been proven to be around ever since1990s.
Its emergence was a result of numerous cases of woman murdering theirpartner in response to cumulative abuse. In further understanding, genderviolence is fostered by the society as men should be more powerful than women,that stimulates the need to exercised power and control over women. Earlyfeminist groups like Justice for Women and Southall Black Sister challenge thelegal courts in recognition of Battered Woman Syndrome. As defined in theEnglish Law, “Provocation is someact, or series of acts done (or words spoken) .
.. which would cause in anyreasonable person and actually causes in the accused, a sudden and temporaryloss of self-control, rendering the accused so subject to passion as to makehim or her for the moment not master of his or her mind.” Through this thecourt have recognized battered woman and may support as a defense for lesseroffenses. Accordingto DSM-5, Battered Woman Syndrome (BWS) has been recognized as a subbedcategory of PTSD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. BWS develops in victimsexperiencing long term and serious case of domestic violence. Mental health expertsfound out that it can lead to what we call “learned helplessness” orpsychological paralysis, which the victim becomes depressed and believes thatshe cannot avoid and is incapable of leaving the abusive condition; BatteredWoman Syndrome comes with abusive cycle of three stages. First, the abuserinvolves in behavior that create tension in their relationships.
Second, theabuser will commit a form of abuse; it can be physical, sexual or psychological.And third stage, frequently referred as the “honeymoon stage”. The abuse willapologize and make amends for his wrong doings and bad behavior. the abuser isforgiven and the cycle repeats all over again. Continuing the cycle, the victimthinks she is to be blamed for all the abuse and starts developing learnedhelplessness thus battered woman syndrome developed. The abuse can be diagnosedas BWS if the cycle repeats for two times. Acase happened in the Philippines last January 15, 2004, which is the first caseof Battered Woman Syndrome appeared in the Philippine Supreme Court. A womanshot her husband because of the abuse that she experiences during 11 years ofmarriage and it includes physical injuries, multiple contusion, pain in thebreast and other part of the body and strangulation during 8 months ofpregnancy.
The supreme court ruled that the severe beatings and cumulativeprovocation that broke down her defenses lessen her criminal liability. She wassent to imprisonment with a minimum of 6 years and 1 day and maximum of 14years 8 months and 1 day. After completing the minimum period, she was qualifiedfor parole. Forthe protection of woman and children in times of crisis, the supreme courtpassed the VAWC law (Republic Act 9262 Anti – Violence Against Woman and TheirChildren Act of 2004) as stated in Section 3 any form of abuse committed by anyperson against his wife, former wife, or with whom he has common child oragainst a person he dated or has sexual relationship with.
An abuse can bephysical, sexual, emotion, economical and it also includes prostitution of thewoman or the child. According to the lawBWS can be used as a defense in the court likewise stated in section 26, victims or former victims of the abuse who are provento be suffering from battered woman syndrome can use BWS as an evidence. However,if can only presented if the victim is proven to be suffering from BWS, theyrequire the assistant of psychiatrist or a psychologist.
Toconclude, Battered Woman Syndrome is experience by those individuals whosuffered several abuses such as physical, emotional, sexual, mental and economicalfor a period of time. There is also the “learned helplessness” which thevictims believe that she cannot escape the toxic life that she has. It comes with 3 stages: tension building,form of abuse and honeymoon stage; if the cycle repeats twice, the victim mightbe suffering from Battered Woman Syndrome. In addition, the Anti-Violenceagainst Woman and Child Act of 2004 is there to help any victims who sufferedor suffereing from BWS.