Women Victims of Domestic Violence may Suffer from BWS

Law Offices of Stephanie L. Mahdavi A Professional Law Corporation Domestic Violence

There is something called Battered Woman Syndrome (BWS). This is a condition many women victims of domestic violence suffer when exposed to long-term abusive behavior.  It’s dangerous as it may lead to psychological paralysis, which means that no matter how bad the situation gets, the victim can’t find the strength to leave the violent environment. The victim will feel defeated, frustrated, depressed and too passive to make any changes in her current circumstances. Women suffering from this syndrome can have serious mental health problems. Contact a Westlake Village domestic violence attorney if you or a loved one has been exposed to domestic violence.


This syndrome generally has three stages:

  • When the abuser demonstrates an abusive personality creating tension.

  • The offender commits physical as well as emotional abuse.

  • This is the last stage when the abuser says sorry for his behavior yet the cycle begins again.

It’s heartbreaking for victims of domestic violence to see the same things happening all over again even after they have forgiven the abuser. The victim feels trapped in a helpless situation and she can’t escape her current environment. This exactly where the battered woman syndrome starts to grow.

Identifying the battered woman syndrome

There are some characteristics that women suffering from this syndrome may exhibit:

  • Blames herself for the abuse instead of the abuser.

  • She doesn’t feel safe.

  • She believes the abuser is too powerful and she can’t escape from him, even after calling the police.

  • Feeling depressed and less excited about events or new activities.

  • Engage in drug and alcohol abuse.

The law

Many states are already recognizing BWS, including California. There are cases when victims commit a crime due to this condition. For example, a wife who injured her spouse may have done so because she was afraid of the abuser (BWS).

It’s important you contact local authorities if you are a victim of domestic violence. Nobody deserves to continue in this environment. It’s dangerous to the victim and her family. If you are a woman who has been exposed to an abusive environment and feel there is no way out. We are here to help you. Contact a  Westlake Village domestic violence attorney to find out what your legal options are.

There are also organizations that offer free counseling and help women in such situations. It can be a little difficult to detach from the abuser, especially if you have a family and there are children involved. Counseling and local groups can make the transition easier and help you start your emotional recovery. The first step to recovery is generally staying away from the abusive environment. But every situation is different. We recommend you contact these professionals and find what’s best for you. We’ll take care of the legal issues and will get a restraining or protective order on your behalf.

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