To adequately explain and argue why feminists, as a matter of legal theory, must take both the BWS and cultural defenses seriously, these defenses need further elaboration. Section I details what these defenses are, how they developed, and how they work in the justice system. Section II enlarges the picture by revealing the similarities between the two defenses which share not only the same theoretical and practical goals, but also the same criticisms and flaws highlighted by scholars. Finally, Section III asserts that cultural evidence and evidence of battering must be admitted to show the absence of mens rea. However, because serious problems arise from the admission of these two defenses, Section III discusses one potential approach to mitigating or eliminating the resulting harms and urges the search for more alternatives. The Article concludes that feminists must accept the admission of cultural evidence and evidence of battering in domestic violence homicide trials. The proper response to the problematic aspects of each defense is the search for specific solutions and approaches to mitigate the harms, not the abandonment of either defense.
Sharan K. Suri,
A Matter of Principle and Consistency: Understanding the Battered Woman and Cultural Defenses,
Mich. J. Gender & L.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mjgl/vol7/iss1/3