Woman ‘Not Sexually nor Physically Abused by Her Husband,’ but She Still Uses ‘Battered Wife Syndrome’ as a Defense

Ottawa, Canada–Background: Evan Stark (pictured) is a prominent feminist advocate for domestic violence victims and the author of Coercive Control: How Men Entrap Women in Personal Life (Interpersonal Violence) and numerous other DV books. I’ve discussed his work many times–to learn more, see my recent blog post Prominent Hard-line Feminist Shows Some Class, Apologizes for Calling Me a ‘Notorious Right Wing Nut Case’ or click here.

Stark was an opponent of our successful Campaign Against PBS’s Father-Bashing Breaking the Silence in 2005.

The good Dr. Stark is at it again, this time trying to get a killer off on “Battered Mother’s Dilemma” and “Battered Wife Syndrome”–despite the fact that the killer mom was “not sexually nor physically abused by her husband.” In other words, she’s a battered wife except for the fact that, um…she wasn’t battered.

From Wife ‘felt like a hostage,’ expert testifies (Ottawa Citizen, 5/30/08):

On the night Teresa Pohchoo Craig killed her husband, she was caught in the coils of a psychological trauma called Battered Mother’s Dilemma, a court heard yesterday.

Dr. Evan Stark, author of Coercive Control: How Men Entrap Women in Personal Life, testified that Jack Craig systematically isolated, controlled and degraded his wife over the course of their 12-year relationship.

In a report prepared for the defence, Dr. Stark said Mrs. Craig also suffered from Battered Wife Syndrome and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, although Mrs. Craig was neither sexually nor physically abused by her husband.

Uh-huh. The section below is particularly humorous:

Mrs. Craig faced the sort of terrible choice that defines Battered Mother’s Dilemma, [Stark] said. She could either leave the marriage for her own safety and freedom or protect her son’s well-being by staying with her abusive husband. He also said the dilemma was “the primary dynamic” leading up to the killing of Mr. Craig…

Mr. Craig, 54, died of stab wounds on March 31, 2006. Mrs. Craig is charged with first-degree murder. Dr. Stark described how Mr. Craig frequently told his wife it was, “My way or the highway,” and she could leave at any time.

But Mr. Craig warned his wife that if she left, he would get custody and she would never see their son again. “She felt like a hostage,” Dr. Stark said.

The dad would get custody? On what planet?

Hope this gig pays good, Evan…

Thanks to Jeremy Swanson for the story.

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