Darla is a woman who was repeatedly abused, raped, and forced into prostitution by her husband. Since domestic violence is present in this case, there are several strategies and psychological theories that could be used to assist Darla’s defense. The first psychological theory that could be used is the condition of Battered Woman Syndrome (BWS). BWS refers to the behavioral and psychological symptoms women who have lived in environments of domestic violence experience (Lifschitz, 2004). Women who suffer from BWS “are in a state of ‘learned helplessness’ brought on from repeated abuse” (Lifschitz, 2004, para 2) Lifschitz (2004) also explains how a “women’s experience with attempts to control the violence of their batterers would, over time, produce learned helplessness and diminish the woman 's motivation to respond” (Lifschitz, 2004, para 4). The formation of learned helplessness explains why battered women, like Darla, do not attempt to free themselves from battering relationships (Lifschitz, 2004).
Fulero & Wightman (2009) state that a woman who has been abused, and …show more content…
In order to answer this question, the expert witness needs to inform the jury of the reasonableness of Darla’s perception of danger (Fulero & Wrightsman, 2009). For example, when a woman with BWS attacks her victim in his or her sleep, it signifies that even when her batterer is sleeping, she is still afraid for her life. Fulero and Wrightsman (2009) explain that the expert witness’s testimony may “demonstrate how repeated physical abuse can heighten a battered woman’s fear and awareness of her husband’s physical capabilities that she considers him as dangerous asleep as awake, as dangerous before an attack as during one”(Fulero & Wrightsman, 2009, p.