Battered Woman Syndrome
“Why doesn’t she just leave?” is often spoken about women who stay in an abusive relationship.
Easier said than done. I have helped women exit such conditions and in every case the men were vicious and evil human beings. They knew only one thing and it wasn’t court orders or police presence. Women tried to flee only to be tracked down and assaulted again.
Here is the sad solution to which some survivors use and it is a legitimate defense in Canada.
Read of these landmark cases.
In this landmark case, on Aug. 31, 1986, Manitoba resident Angelique Lyn Lavallee, 22, fatally shot her common law partner Kevin Rust in the back of the head as he left her room following a heated argument. Court heard that during their relationship, Lavallee was frequently abused by Rust.
A psychiatrist testified in her trial that she had been terrorized by Rust and that she felt trapped and unable to escape the relationship. He said that the shooting “was a final desperate act by a woman who sincerely believed that she would be killed that night,” court heard.
Lavallee was acquitted by a jury of second-degree murder on the basis of self defence, but the verdict was overturned by a majority of the Manitoba Court of Appeal and the case sent back for retrial.
The case ultimately went to the Supreme Court, where the issue centred on whether the evidence of the psychiatrist should have been before the court.
The top court agreed that the evidence was pertinent, recognizing that battered woman syndrome is a legitimate defence.
Thank to CBC for this informative article.
“The abuse which she suffered at the hands of [husband Michael] Ryan took an enormous toll on her,” the Court concluded. The justices also castigated the local RCMP for failing to respond adequately to Mr. Ryan’s supposed “reign of terror,” and suggested that these police officers acted negligently in response to the desperate pleas of a long-suffering wife.”