Battered (m)others syndrome: Mothers who kill their batterers and the children who are left behind

Federico, Rachael Ann
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I examine the intersection of identities of women who kill their batterers in self-defense, as both mothers and as victims. Many scholars discuss women's use of lethal force as a result of battering; however, many of these women's narratives strongly suggest that they acted not solely for protection of their own lives, but for their children. My research interrogates the significance of intersecting identities, and what happens to women and their children during periods of incarceration subsequent to a murder conviction in these cases. I will discuss why the legal system fails to account for women's use of lethal force as self-defense, given its male-oriented historical framework that excludes a consideration of a battered mother's identity Finally, I argue that the relationship between children and their mothers is perilously fragmented, creating compounded traumatic experiences. Children exposed to abuse become silent witnesses, vastly untreated by scholarship in this area of study.

Social sciences, Womens studies, Individual & family studies