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What is "Battered Women's Syndrome?"

Domestic abuse is a serious concern for many Americans throughout the United States. Many of the symptoms of domestic violence are not always easy to recognize, often making it difficult for an abused wife or girlfriend to get out of the situation. One common syndrome among repeatedly abused women is called battered women's syndrome.

Battered women's syndrome typically begins and stays in effect through three stages. First the abuser develops a tension that invokes fear in the abused. He then acts out on the abuse, which does not necessarily have to be physical abuse, but could be emotional psychological or sexual in nature. He then finishes the cycle by trying to apologize and promising to make things right. This last stage is often called the honeymoon stage, and is done to lessen the damage done, apply guilt to the victim, and reset the cycle so that it can continue.

Victims of battered women's syndrome often feel as though they are to blame for the abuse. They eventually devolve into a state of "learned helplessness" where they may assume that the situation cannot be resolved. The victim may also fear retribution if the abuse is reported and may fear for her own safety or the safety of the children. Such feelings further make it more difficult for a victim to get out of the unhealthy situation. It is not uncommon for victims to also experience bouts of depression and may resort to drug or alcohol abuse as a means of coping with the situation.

For any woman who has been a victim of domestic abuse, your first step should be to get away from the situation to protect yourself and your children or other victims in the household. We understand this is a big step, one that might be met with both hesitance and fear, but it is the most important step you can take. Once you are in a safe environment, you may want to consider legal action. Addressing the situation could be crucial down the line during divorce proceedings.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Battered Women's Syndrome," Accessed July 6, 2017

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Haller & Imbarlina, P.C.
20120 Route 19, Suite 208
Gigliotti Plaza
Cranberry Township, PA 16066

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