Kavya Goel, BBA LLB, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun
Domestic violence is undoubtedly an act of absolute heinous resulting in lifelong scars and trauma. It not only affects the individual physically but also breaks their psychological condition, their self confidence and in most cases even their will to live. According to a survey conducted by WHO on behalf of the United Nations found that worldwide, 30 percent of women, or roughly 1 in 3, have experienced physical or sexual abuse by a romantic relationship, a non-romantic partner, or both. The majority of intimate relationship and sexual violence against women is committed by men. A battered women often feel so trapped, isolated, and helpless that killing their abuser seems the only reasonable way out, as they are under the impression that its either him or her. Battered women syndrome is a very slow and time building process consisting of both mental as well as physical torture and often the women suffering from it feels that the abuse is her own fault. BWS has deep roots related to human psychology. Prior when battered women syndrome was first introduced the battered women were often told by their attorney that they don’t have a defence and should therefore plead guilty. Even if they were given a defence, it was of insanity. But battered women syndrome is not about insanity. The paper talks about why battered women syndrome should be recognised as a legitimate self defence in criminal justice system. It aims to bust the misconceptions regarding the syndrome with an understanding of self-defence and psychology of battered women.