The battered woman syndrome defense, a. k. a. learned helplessness
ITEM December 1990. The governor of Ohio releases from prison twenty – five women who had been convicted of killing or assaulting their husbands or companions.” Each woman claimed the man had abused her. Within months, other governors had followed suit20
Until 1982, anyone who called a premeditated murder self-defense would have been laughed out of court. But in 1982, Lenore Walker won the first legal victory for her women-only theory of learned helplessness, which suggests that a woman whose husband or boyfriend batters her becomes
fearful for her life and helpless to leave him so if she kills him, it Is really self-defense – even if she had premeditated his murder/1
The woman is said to be a victim of the battered woman syndrome. Is it possible a woman could kill, let’s say. for insurance money? Lenore Walker says no. she claims. "Women don’t kill men unless they’ve been pushed to a point of desperation."22 Ironically, feminists had often said, "There’s never an excuse for violence agaiast a woman." Now they were saying, "But there’s aJu<ay$ an excuse for violence agaiast a man. if a woman does it." That sexism is now called the law in fifteen states.
By the 1990s. states such as California and Ohio allowed a woman to kill her sleeping husband and claim self-defense because she felt helpless.’’23 Allowing a woman to claim self-defense after killing a man who was asleep gave these states a female only definition of self-defense. For the first time in American history, premeditated murder, normally called first-degree murder (the worst kind), was called self-defense – but only if a woman was accused; and only if a man was murdered Which leaves us with a battered woman syndrome but no battered man syndrome – as if women were the only victims of learned helplessness
Do both sexes suffer from feelings of learned helplessness? Yes. For example. . .