Battered Women Sydrome (BWS)

Battered woman syndrome (more commonly called "BWS" or "Intimate Partner Abuse and its Effects") describes a pattern of psychological and behavioral symptoms found in women living in abusive relationships. (BWS occurs in same-sex relationships, and men can suffer from "BWS," but the overwhelming amount of research in the area has focused upon the female sufferer.) Typically, BWS falls under the category of post-traumatic stress disorder. There are four general characteristics of Battered Women's Syndrome:

1. The fear that her life and/or her children's lives are in danger;

2. An inability to place the responsibility for the violence elsewhere; 3. The belief that the violence was her fault; 4. An irrational belief that the abuser is omniscient and omnipresent.

Diagnosing Battered Women's Syndrome

In order to be diagnosed with battered women's syndrome a person must experience at least two complete battering cycles. The cycle has three distinct phases: the tension-building phase, followed by the violent incident, followed by the "make-up" or "honeymoon" phase. If there have not been two cycles, the person cannot be diagnosed with the syndrome.

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