A execution, a month after Angelina gave birth.

A
night of November 1910, Pietro Napolitano attacked his spouse, Angelina, with a
knife which resulted to several injuries in her body. Pietro worked as an on
and off laborer and it is not enough to sustain the whole family. He began
pressuring Angelina to earn money by prostitution; and if she refused her
spouse would beat her even though she is 6 months pregnant. When Pietro was
sleeping in their room, Angelina took an axe and hit her sleeping husband four
times in the neck and head thus killing him. During the trial, Uriah McFadden,
Angelina’s lawyer argued that experiencing abuse constantly has driven the wife
to kill her spouse; despite all of that it was ruled as inadmissible evidence
arguing that if anybody injured months ago could give that as justification or
excuse for slaying a person. The trial lasted for only three hours declaring
Angelina as guilty and to be sentenced for execution, a month after Angelina
gave birth. Intimate-partner abuse has been proven to be around ever since
1990s. Its emergence was a result of numerous cases of woman murdering their
partner in response to cumulative abuse. In further understanding, gender
violence is fostered by the society as men should be more powerful than women,
that stimulates the need to exercised power and control over women. Early
feminist groups like Justice for Women and Southall Black Sister challenge the
legal courts in recognition of Battered Woman Syndrome. As defined in the
English Law, “Provocation is some
act, or series of acts done (or words spoken) … which would cause in any
reasonable person and actually causes in the accused, a sudden and temporary
loss of self-control, rendering the accused so subject to passion as to make
him or her for the moment not master of his or her mind.” Through this the
court have recognized battered woman and may support as a defense for lesser
offenses.

 

According
to DSM-5, Battered Woman Syndrome (BWS) has been recognized as a subbed
category of PTSD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. BWS develops in victims
experiencing long term and serious case of domestic violence. Mental health experts
found out that it can lead to what we call “learned helplessness” or
psychological paralysis, which the victim becomes depressed and believes that
she cannot avoid and is incapable of leaving the abusive condition; Battered
Woman Syndrome comes with abusive cycle of three stages. First, the abuser
involves in behavior that create tension in their relationships. Second, the
abuser will commit a form of abuse; it can be physical, sexual or psychological.
And third stage, frequently referred as the “honeymoon stage”. The abuse will
apologize and make amends for his wrong doings and bad behavior. the abuser is
forgiven and the cycle repeats all over again. Continuing the cycle, the victim
thinks she is to be blamed for all the abuse and starts developing learned
helplessness thus battered woman syndrome developed. The abuse can be diagnosed
as BWS if the cycle repeats for two times.

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A
case happened in the Philippines last January 15, 2004, which is the first case
of Battered Woman Syndrome appeared in the Philippine Supreme Court. A woman
shot her husband because of the abuse that she experiences during 11 years of
marriage and it includes physical injuries, multiple contusion, pain in the
breast and other part of the body and strangulation during 8 months of
pregnancy. The supreme court ruled that the severe beatings and cumulative
provocation that broke down her defenses lessen her criminal liability. She was
sent to imprisonment with a minimum of 6 years and 1 day and maximum of 14
years 8 months and 1 day. After completing the minimum period, she was qualified
for parole.

 

For
the protection of woman and children in times of crisis, the supreme court
passed the VAWC law (Republic Act 9262 Anti – Violence Against Woman and Their
Children Act of 2004) as stated in Section 3 any form of abuse committed by any
person against his wife, former wife, or with whom he has common child or against
a person he dated or has sexual relationship with. An abuse can be physical,
sexual, emotion, economical and it also includes prostitution of the woman or
the child.  According to the law BWS can
be used as a defense in the court likewise stated in section 26, victims or former victims of the abuse who are proven
to 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, they
require the assistant of psychiatrist or a psychologist.

To
conclude, Battered Woman Syndrome is experience by those individuals who
suffered several abuses such as physical, emotional, sexual, mental and
economical for a period of time. There is also the “learned helplessness” which
the victims 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 might
be suffering from Battered Woman Syndrome. In addition, the Anti-Violence
against Woman and Child Act of 2004 is there to help any victims who suffered
or suffereing from BWS. 

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