This is how it happens: inside a quiet room, behind a closed door, a man calls a woman a "slut- and a "whore."" He tells her that she is too fat or to sexy, that she is "a poor excuse for a mother,"" a worthless piece of dirt that only he can love. In public, when she smiles at the grocery clerk, he flies into a jealous rage. When she comes home minutes late, he grills her about where she's been. One day, he slaps her face. The next time, he slams her head against a wall or drags her across the rug by her hair, his children pleading, "Daddy, please don't hurt her."" Then, when it's over, he gets down on his knees. "I'm so sorry, baby,"" he says. "You're the only one I can talk to. I'll kill myself if you leave."" Quivering with shame and fear, she relents. And one day, perhaps after she has finally tried to break off the relationship, she ends up dead. It happens to 1,400 to 2,500 women in America each year (Berry 9). Battered Woman Syndrome (BWS) is a serious problem for women today. It should not be seen as just an excuse for women to murder their husbands.
The Encyclopedia of Violence in America defines Battered Woman Syndrome as "a form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), in which a traumatic experience "in this case repeated abuse by one's partner "produces intense fear and feelings of helplessness in the victim- (Gottesman and Brown 3: 465). Many of the women today who have been found guilty of murdering their husbands are sitting behind bars with a charge of voluntary manslaughter while they serve a life long sentence. The fact that these women had been living under the same roof with their worse enemy for years while enduring horrible abuse from the man that they once loved until they could take it no longer mean nothing in our court systems. How can the same judge who sentences a .
child abuser to prison in turn sentence a battered and beaten woman, who in the same sense is much like that child, to a life sentence for protecting herself and perhaps her children?.