The Test of A “Reasonable Woman”: Battered Woman Syndrome as a Defence from Criminal Liability in the Nepalese Legal System


“A woman, a horse, and a hickory tree

The more you beat ’em the better they be”[1]

1. Introduction

Legal history has been severely plagued with conservative-patriarchal ideology. Such mind-set has severely affected women in abusive household, who have developed Battered Woman Syndrome (hereinafter, BWS), while they seek recourse in the courts. BWS is a psychological state which emerges when a woman is fed up of the violence, physical or mental, inflicted on her on a regular basis. BWS describes a pattern of violence inflicted on a woman by her mate.[2] Here, it becomes important to note that while the initial concepts of BWS only dealt with heterosexual relations, there exists a narrative on how the syndrome can arise in homosexual relations (involving women) as well. Similarly, the syndrome can arise in relations other than marital relations. Initially conceptualized as “learned helplessness”, wherein a woman is not able to escape an abusive household despite having the opportunity to do so,[3] BWS was later referred to the theory of “cycle of violence” which is conceptualized in three stages; tension building, acute battering and contrite loving.[4] Both of these co-relations were made by psychologist Dr. Lenore Walker.[5] (Further explained below at 3.)

Historically, battered women have been victimised and ignored not just by their parents but also by the uncaring judiciary.[6] In lack of a just legal system, a battered woman (who kill their abuser) can be punished thrice; once for enduring an abusive relationship; second for using self-defence itself (as there lacks adequate feminist legal representation while determining the essentials of self-defence, as have been further described below at 4.); third by being excluded from rights like inheritance, pension, joint-tenancy rights, etc., as killers (charged of murder or homicide) are not allowed to enjoy such rights.[7] (Such layers of punishment can be seen in case of Nepal as well, which has been explained below. See, the text at citation 38). Conservative panels of judges have been found to comply with the traditional notion of self-defence which severely limits the defence available to a battered woman.[8] Further, given the need of expert testimony (further explained below at 5.) in cases involving BWS, its admissibility should not be limited because of whims of the presiding judge[9] – a problem that can be witnessed in Nepal. [10]

(While BWS has been pleaded in cases like child custody disputes, marital dissolution, etc.,[11] this article deals with battered women who kill. While there have also been suggestions for the use of the defence of duress,[12] this article will solely focus on the defence of self-defence as it reflects the practice in the courts. Further, there appears to be a lot of debate on the terminology used itself, as it is said to be misleading.[13] However, given the large acceptance of BWS in courts and in scientific studies, the article shall only deal with BWS and its application, but will however throw a light on some of the short-comings.)

BWS has also been related to Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (hereinafter, PTSD), as both consist elements of a traumatic event and its effect.[14]  BWS is considered a subcategory of PTSD[15] that describes the psychological responses of a woman upon whom repeated violence is inflicted in an intimate relationship. Inherent to BWS are psychological issues of varying intensities, which makes expert witness testimonies and, case-specific and idiosyncratic diagnosis of the syndrome (which prevents unidimensional and stereotypical understanding of a battered woman)[16] important while claiming self-defense against a crime committed by the battered women on her batterer.[17] Therefore, expert testimony forms an important part of self-defence.[18] A body of scientific and clinical literature has formed the basis for expert testimonies in domestic violence cases.[19]

The phrase “battered women syndrome” has been mostly observed in criminal cases where a woman-murderer who killed her intimate partner sought to avail herself the defence of “self-defence” against the deceased-abuser.[20] Literature on the issue began developing during the 1970s in the United States of America (US).[21] It developed as an alternative theory of self-defence developed by feminists to eliminate sex-bias on the traditional doctrine of self-defence, which is based on experiences of men and tested on a “reasonable man” standard.[22] The requirement of “imminence of danger” and “fists against fists” ground to avail the defence of self-defence is biased against women whose perception of reasonable physical response against a danger and imminence of a danger is different from that of a man.[23] In the case of State v. Wanrow, the Washington Supreme Court rejected the objective standard of “reasonable man” requirement. The court stated that “the vital question is the reasonableness of the defendant’s apprehension of danger” and such apprehension can vary among the sexes.[24] Therefore, an expert witness helps elucidate the difference in perception and response that a man and a woman has when there is a presence of a danger.[25] They can also help address the question as to why did the woman not seek help and continued with the relationship.[26] However, since the impact of domestic violence varies with socio-economic condition of a woman,[27] it is important not to generalize the psychological aspect of BWS but undertake a case-to-case basis of analysis. All these issues will be detailed in the following parts of the article.

2. Nepalese Context

In the case of Laximai Badi v. HMG, [28] Laxmi Badi had killed her husband while he was asleep. The offender was subjected to domestic violence for 23 years by her alcoholic husband. Here, the court decided that the offender should be convicted for 7 years for the crime of culpable homicide. In another case of  Jok Kumari Karki v. GoN[29] the abuser (husband) was murdered by his wife. The victim had come home drunk and had abused his wife, who then retaliated by hitting him with an axe which caused the husband’s death. Here, however, the offender was convicted for 10 years. The wife (offender) hid the body of the deceased-victim at a dumping site, which was discovered after 10 days. This might be a reason for the increase in conviction years in comparison to the case of Laxima Badi, since the act seems to be unlike that of a woman with BWS (however, the court did not delve into the issue of BWS). (The conclusion section includes some cases from the US which have provided partial defence to a battered woman because her acts were unlike that of a battered woman.) (Again, it should be noted that BWS should not be generalised towards “weaker” women and there should not be a generalisation on how a battered woman behaves.) The convictions in these cases were made as per no. 188 of the Chapter of Court Management of Muluki Ain, 2020 B.S.,[30] wherein the authority has been provided with the power to lessen the punishment on reasonable grounds.[31] Similarly, using the same authority, punishment was reduced to 8 years and 7 years in the cases of GoN v. Shena Lama Sherpa[32] and Ganga alias Kabita Bajgai (Adhikari) v. GoN,[33] respectively. However, in the case of Shanti B.K. v. Government of Nepal,[34] grounds for consideration for application of the provision had been delimited, and such express delimitation (as provided in no. 188 of the Chapter of Court Management of Muluki Ain, 2020 B.S.) was not adequate to deal with BWS.[35] This highlights the harm that the provisions and judgements that delimit the grounds for self-defence can have.

In the case of GoN v. Radhika Shrestha,[36] the bench set a precedence on BWS.[37] The offender-wife had killed her husband by setting him on fire, and she was convicted for 10 years, without confiscation of property. (The trial court had however, decided on lifetime imprisonment pursuant to Section 13(3) of the Chapter on Homicide in the Muluki Ain, along with confiscation of the property).[38] The case is particularly important because the Supreme Court referred to Walker’s work and had issued a standing order to introduce and amend laws to comply with BWS (not just limited to cases of murder). It was decided that “on the basis of established principles, changed context, demand of the time and seriousness of BWS, it is necessary to manage legal provisions in order to regulate the matters like testing of BWS, admissibility of examination report and expert’s testimony on BWS as an evidence, claims of leniency on punishment made by the defendant in the murder case related to BWS.”[39]

However, introducing an express provision can also be detrimental to battered women, as it can create a “generalising effect”. Therefore, introduction of a provision dealing with BWS should keep it broad enough to incorporate genuine cases of battered women, while also providing discretion on the authority to reject the defence if the provision is being misused. Presently, the law incorporates provision on mitigating punishments,[40] which have been said to be used to deal with battered women.[41] (see citation 35 and accompanying text for a conflicting opinion).  Such provisions mitigate the punishment on the grounds of some form of disability or incapacity. However, such disability or incapacity is not entirely true in the case of a battered woman. Such opinion, labelling a battered woman as “incapable” or “disable”, furthers the stereotype that is prevalent. This further highlights the risk of incorporating (forcefully) BWS into express provisions of the law such as no. 188 Chapter of Court Management of Muluki Ain, 2020 B.S. or Section 39 (h) of the National Penal Code 2017 (Muluki Aparaadh Samhita, 2074 B.S.). Further, limiting application of BWS to limited grounds (by introduction of an express provision on BWS) might fail to incorporate all the cases involving BWS, as behavioural pattern of women suffering from BWS cannot be generalised, as it differs from a case to case basis. Further, BWS has also been criticised on the grounds that it portrays battered women as weak and dysfunctional.[42] Further, such women are regarded to have failed to comply with their gender expectations and can be labelled as abnormal, mentally ill and dangerous.[43] Keeping in mind that self-defence plea has been more favourable (in the US) than the plea of insanity or provocation,[44] the defence of “self-defence” should be made available to battered woman rather than the defence of insanity which is detrimental towards such battered women.

While the need for an express provision on BWS in the Nepalese legal sphere cannot be denied due to lack of judicial literature and endeavour into the issue, the law, if made, should be broad enough, not to again act against the battered woman. Use of Walker’s theory can be detrimental to the battered woman herself. For example, Walker mentions that a battered woman develops learned helplessness (further explained below at 3.1), which renders them passive and unresponsive to violence. Generalisation of such requirement for a  battered woman may leave out women who do not exhibit such behavioural patterns.[45] Therefore, while defeating older myths regarding  battered women, the theory might create a myth of its own.[46]  Use of BWS in courtrooms poses the risk of stereotypical and pathological characterisation of a battered woman.[47] This is true in case of Nepal as well.[48] Therefore, its application must be done carefully and on a case-to-case basis. Thus, while applying Walker’s theory to introduce a potential provision dealing with BWS, it becomes important to make sure that the provisions do not “generalise” the battered women.

(Courts have reduced the punishment in cases of crimes committed by a woman due to the abusive household that she lived in. However, they have historically failed to expressly deal with BWS.[49] Another problem that exists with the Nepalese Legal System is that, the judiciary has not yet, at least not fully, recognized the importance of expert testimony in cases involving BWS.[50] Therefore, this article shall also incorporate the practice in the US legal system while dealing with expert testimony in cases involving BWS. Additionally, this article shall deal with the question as to whether reducing the punishment to that of manslaughter (or equivalent)[51]or even reducing the years of punishment enough or should there be a complete self-defence for battered women, in appropriate cases. Thus, this article shall also deal with the requirement of a “separate” self-defence based on “reasonable woman test” and highlight the needs of expert witnesses in Nepalese Courts in case of BWS.)

3. Theories of Battered Woman Syndrome

As already stated, BWS is based on core concepts of “learned helplessness” and “cycle of violence”. These theories help one understand the reasons behind the events of domestic violence and reasons for its continuance, along with inherent weaknesses that a woman faces, which acts as a hurdle to her “escape route”. This part shall mainly deal with psychological analysis.

3.1. Learned Helplessness

Originally developed by Martin Seligman, the “Learned Helplessness” theory demonstrates how escaping opportunities were discarded by a battered woman due to traumas caused in the past while escaping. During his experiment, he found that dogs who were subjected to inescapable electric shocks during their attempt to escape, failed to escape even when there were no such shocks,[52] because they learned that the outcome (i.e. a negative stimuli like electric shocks) were independent of their responses and such learning undermined their attempt to escape.[53] Using such theory, Walker attempted to explain why women find it difficult to leave a battering relationship.[54] While there are conflicting studies with regard to learned helplessness in human beings, parallel effect of depression and helplessness can be observed.[55] In this context, it also becomes important to address that there exist conflicting opinions on how a battered woman can ‘un’-learn helplessness and kill.[56] However, the theory of learned helplessness is largely accepted today. Therefore, such hurdles in the route of escape, further continues the cycle of violence (explained below at 3.2).

Childhood exposure to domestic violence which might also induce the reluctance to accept such violence as “inevitable”, can also explain why a woman does not leave abusive household.  In addition, law enforcement’s attitude towards domestic violence can also block the path of escape. The “castle doctrine” (as observed in the US) which provides that a person’s home is their castle and they ought not to abandon it to his enemy, can also justify why a battered woman does not retreat. However, here again, a loophole that exists is that, if the attacker has a much larger right on the household where the attack occurs, duty to retreat still applies on the woman.[57]

3.1.1. Adapting the Psychosocial Theory of Learned Helplessness to Battered Women

It has been found that battered women live with, marry and even return back to their batterer.[58] The choice to stay in the relation is sometimes based on a rational cost-benefit analysis. In many situations, a woman cannot sustain herself, without the partner’s help and thus, staying in the relation becomes more reasonable.[59] Battered women, therefore, do not attempt to escape the relationship, because of their submissiveness and passiveness. They do not believe that they can control their situation. The theory therefore explains how killing the batterer becomes the last resort, as she believes that she is not able to prevent the situation in any other manner.[60] However, it is pertinent to note that Seligman (along with his colleagues) himself, has criticised the use of “learned helplessness” theory by Walker stating that “passivity observed among victims of domestic violence is a middling example of learned helplessness”.[61] Therefore, such partly-conflicting observations might give a reasonable ground to conclude that the “reasonable woman test” should only be a ground for mitigation of punishment, and not a ground for excuse. However, in judicial practice, complete self-defence has been provided, which also cannot be ignored.

3.2 Cycle of Violence

To understand BWS, there is a need to understand how battering occurs and recurs.  According to the “cycle of violence” theory, battering in a relationship occurs in a “cycle” rather than in a “random” or in a “constant” manner. There are three stages in a battered relationship; the tension building phase; the acute explosion or acute battering incident; and the contrite loving stage.[62] If this cycle repeats twice, it gives rise to a battered relationship,[63] as has been cited by the Supreme Court of Nepal as well.[64]  Continuance of the cycle is fueled by the psychological and economic obstacles that a women faces if she chooses to be independent from the relation. “Romantic paternalism” present in the society can further explain how a woman is caged[65] and cannot escape. Additionally, it has been found that people who left the abusive relationship, were traced and faced even greater abuse. Thus, the primary fear of such women – retaliation with even more violence by the batterer – gives continuance to such relationship.[66] Further, battered women were found to be restricted (isolated) by the batterer due to his jealousy and to shield against discovery of the abuse by other people. Additionally, the battered women insulate themselves due to humiliation and fear.[67] However, application of the “cycle of violence” theory to battered women have faced criticisms – with Prof. Faigman, for example, stating that “the prevailing theories of battered woman syndrome have little evidentiary value in self-defence cases…[and is] incapable of explaining why an abused woman strikes out at her mate when she does”.[68] Therefore, again, such short-comings might explain the reasons for the “reasonable woman’s test” being only a ground for mitigation of punishment, and not a complete excuse.[69]

3.3 Conclusion on the Theories

There have been several comments on the inherent problems of the BWS theory and its incompliance with the empirical findings that does not support the presence of learned helplessness, further complicating the already-difficult evidence problem.  For example, Gondolf and Fisher’s research suggests that battered women actively sought help. However, again, such findings may not align with the Nepalese society. Walker has found that battered women developed low self-esteem, fear and held traditional view about home and female sex roles; thinking if they would improve, their mates would stop beating them.[70] Further monetary dependence of the woman on the husband, provides a ground for battering to build without any routes for escape.[71] Such explanations still aligns with the male-centric cultural practices[72] of the Nepalese society. Therefore, despite there being conflicting findings, large acceptance of the theory cannot be denied.

4. Justifying the test of a “Reasonable Woman”

Observing historically, the common law permitted “moderate correction” of the wife. The nineteenth century British Common law validated the “rule of thumb” according to which, a husband can beat his wife with a rod not thicker than his thumb. A husband was legally considered to be sovereign of his wife.[73] A wife who killed her husband used to face far serious punishments than a husband who killed his wife. Similar patriarchal notion can be observed in the “gender-neutral” laws, like self-defence as well.

Walker has addressed the issue of self-defence being tested under the test of a “reasonable person” which generally includes objective test of what an average reasonable man would do as self-defence.[74] She advocated for the term “battered women self-defence”.[75] Similarly, she addressed the issue with the requirement of “imminence” to invoke self-defence. Generally, a battered woman becomes hyper-vigilant to impending danger and takes a pre-emptive strike, without an “imminence” of danger being there. Expert evidence can help in establishing “imminence” element (of sorts) of self-defence claim as well.[76] Another issue arises with the requirement of “reasonable amount of force to repeal danger”. Given the previous incidents of domestic violence and having been defenceless against the batterer, and possibility of future retaliation by the batterer if the woman fights back, a woman may grab for a gun or a knife as a weapon of self-defence, and kill to prevent impending battering.[77] Professor Paul Robinson provides an allegory to explain how a danger can have “imminence” without being “imminent”. He explains, if a boat has a slow but steady leak, with a certainty that the ship will sink, will the sailors wait till the boat sinks?[78] In lack of adequate alternative against the abusive relationship, killing seems to be the only way out.[79] Such explanations help explain killing of the batterer in both confrontational and non-confrontational cases.[80]

Since battered women kill when the husband is off-guard, they fail to meet the “immediacy requirement” for self-defence (as per the general view).[81] Similarly, the existence of “equal force” requirement in the claim of self-defence works against a battered woman, because such equal use of force from the woman might result to larger retaliation from the male counter-part. Thus, a higher force resulting to death is reasonable. This highlight a need of “reasonable woman test”, when it comes to battered women who kill, since the test of “reasonableness” itself is not reasonable.[82] It has been stated that the requirement of “equal force” assume that the persons in dispute are equal in in size and ability. Such objective standard of self-defence prejudices the woman.[83] Similar short-comings in the test of self-defence existed in the English Common law system.[84]

Knowledge is interwoven with perception and a battered woman’s perception of violence is different from that of a male. There have been instances where a jury could not figure out why a battered woman killed her batterer at the time that she did, and not before.[85] (Here again, one can observe the importance of expert witness.) This can again be justified using the cycle of violence theory and how a woman perceives domestic violence. Therefore, a reasonable battered woman might react differently towards violence than a male, thus justifying the test of a “reasonable woman”.[86] These issues must be acknowledged by the courts of Nepal.

5. Case for Expert Witness

There have been findings in the US on expert witnesses, whose primary role is to educate and sensitise the jurors, so as to aid them in their decision making process. They help in dispelling myths and stereotypes associated with battered women. Courts have historically been misinformed about battered women[87] and an expert witness’s involvement aids the courts to see clearer pictures that are not confined within the four walls.[88]

Expert witness has been denied in the past because of a lack of adequate scientific acceptance on BWS.[89] However, there has been a substantial scientific development in the field. The American Psychological Association has endorsed the validity of the syndrome in many amicus submissions filed by them.[90] Australian courts also accepted the syndrome to be a scientifically established facet of psychology during the 1990s[91]  unlike in the 80s.[92] Similarly, in the US, courts in every jurisdiction have accepted the use of expert testimony in cases involving BWS and self-defence claim, with some US states codifying it into statues.[93] The American courts have also found that the syndrome satisfies the Daubert test, which requires the judges to consider the testability of the scientific theory; error rates associated with the theory; publication of relevant research in peer-reviewed publications; and general acceptance of the scientific basis of the theory, before accepting expert testimonies.[94]

Experts are brought in to provide a combination of information and insight. The insight (their own views) that they provide, reflects a part of the expert’s role in acting as an advocate for any battered woman. This may create a “conflict of interest” on the part of the expert.  Expert witnesses have been denied based on the reasoning of “prejudicial impacts”.[95] (However, it has been found that benefits of expert testimony outweighs the prejudicial effect, as has been provided below. See the text at citation 101). This highlights the need of “information part” of the testimony from the expert which are not based on his views but based on the facts of the case and study of the background of the battered women. [96]

Research suggests that if the observer (i.e. the judge) is able to differentiate between themselves and the victim, it creates a “sympathy” on the part of the observer and such differentiation allows the observer to believe that they have never faced and will never face such violence because they are not in the same situation as the victim.[97] An expert testimony on battered woman helps in creation of such differentiation, and establish a different “category” for such women. Therefore, such differentiation makes the court undertake the “reasonable women’s test”, as the situation that the battered women have faced, is not something that can be compared with other forms of violence. This also highlights the need of expert testimony.[98]

The Supreme Court has acknowledged the need of a legal provision in Nepalese Legal System which allows expert witness testimony in cases dealing with BWS.[99] The Dyas test,[100] as followed by some states in the US, provides that so as to accept expert witnesses, there must be a subject matter which is “beyond the ken of the average layman” and the witness must have “sufficient knowledge or experience in that field…or his inference or opinion aids the trier in his search for the truth”. Finally, “the state of the art of the testimony’s substance must be such that an opinion or inference can reasonably be drawn by an expert.” This test provides grounds for admitting expert witness testimony, while also making sure that “junk sciences” are excluded. Applying the test, the District of Columbia Court of Appels had decided that the lower court had erred by excluding testimony of Dr. Lenore Walker herself. The Court of Appeals decided that the value of testimony substantially outweighed any prejudicial effect.[101] However, there always lies a risk of well-grounded scientific theories being inadmissible due to submission of “junk sciences” by experts. Such situation arises because of the experts whose opinion are available to the highest bidder.[102] A proper scrutiny to establish impartiality is to be done, as misuse of the defence cannot be denied.[103]  Therefore, the grounds laid down in the Dyas test has to be noted while developing an express provision admitting expert witness in the cases involving BWS.

6. Conclusion

These findings must be taken into account while making an express provision on battered women syndrome. There are short-comings on the theory propounded by Walker. Further, there are serious issues like the introduction of junk science, while introducing expert testimony, which can again introduce a new plague. While an express provision does possess a risk of “generalisation”, what cannot be denied is that fact that many states have effectively implemented the findings on BWS, by providing broad interpretation to the law concerning BWS. The practice of mandatory minimum punishment for battered woman who kill must end, if all the requirements of the defence are made out.[104] Rather than merely limiting BWS as a mitigating factor for punishment, there is a need to provide full self-defence in appropriate cases. Similarly, there is also a need to address the potential misuse that such provisions can have, and therefore limitation is necessary to prevent it from being used as a sword rather than a shield. For example; in a case (from the US), a woman victim of domestic violence, was correctly not a given a protection under the garb of BWS, wherein she had hired a person to kill her husband after being separated for two months. Further, the killing took place at the defendant’s house and she was encouraging the homicide.[105] However, there have been cases where imperfect self-defence has been provided to a battered woman, despite her act of hiring a man to kill her husband.[106] Therefore, the potential provision on BWS should be broad enough to introduce the practice of full self-defence and to prevent creation of a “new myth”, while also providing adequate discretion to the judiciary to filter out cases to prevent the abuse of such provisions. As already mentioned, case-specific and idiosyncratic diagnosis should not be disturbed if any express provision is introduced. Additionally, the provision should also make expert testimony easily admissible in such cases because the issue of BWS is multi-disciplinary,[107] and is not just limited to the study of law.

*Kiran Paudel is a Founding Partner at Wisdom Law Associates, Kathmandu. The author holds LL.M. degree (in Criminal and Commercial Laws) and M.A. in Political Science from Tribhuvan University. He is currently a candidate for Master in Public Administration, Tribhuvan University.

**Sankalpa Koirala is a B.A./LL.B. student at RGNUL, Punjab.

(The editorial board is thankful towards Prof. Dr. Rajit Bhakta Pradhananga for his advice.)

(This article has been prepared for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The information contained is not intended to create a lawyer-client relationship. The views expressed in the article does not reflect the the official position of the institutions to which the authors are affiliated. Readers should not act upon this without seeking advice from professional advisers. )

[1] M Julianne Leary, ‘A Woman, a Horse, and a Hickory Tree: The Development of Expert Testimony on the Battered Woman Syndrome in Homicide Cases’ (1985) 53 UMKC L Rev 386 < >

[2] Paul C. Giannelli, ‘Battered Woman Syndrome’ (1993) 16 (1) Public Defender Reporter 1  < >

[3] Lenore E Walker, Roberta K Thyfault and Angela Browne, ‘Beyond the Juror’s Ken: Battered Women’ (1982) 7 Vt L Rev 1 <;

[4] ibid.

[5] ibid.

[6] A Renee Callahan, ‘Will the Real Battered Woman Please Stand Up–In Search of a Realistic Legal Definition of Battered Woman Syndrome’ (1994) 3 Am UJ Gender & L 117  <;

[7] Barbara Hamilton and Elizabeth Sheehy, ‘Thrice Punished: Battered Women, Criminal Law and Disinheritance’ (2004) 8 Southern Cross University Law Review 96 <;

[8] Julie Blackman, ‘Potential Uses for Expert Testimony: Ideas toward the Representation of Battered Women Who Kill’ (1986) 9 Women’s Rts L Rep   246 <>

[9] Diana J Ensign, ‘Links between the Battered Woman Syndrome and the Battered Child Syndrome: An Argument for Consistent Standards in the Admissibility of Expert Testimony in Family Abuse Cases’ (1990) 36 Wayne L Rev 1619 <;; David L Faigman and Amy J Wright, ‘The Battered Woman Syndrome in the Age of Science’ (1997) 39 Ariz L Rev 67 <;

[10] Government of Nepal (as per the FIR of Gurans Devi Lama) v Radhika Shrestha [2014] NLR 2071 Issue 9 Decision No. 9242 (Supreme Court)

[11] Mary Ann Dutton, ‘Update of the “Battered Woman Syndrome” Critique’, Applied Research Forum National, (2009) Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women  <;

[12] Meredith Blake, ‘Coerced into Crime: The Application of Battered Woman Syndrome to the Defense of Duress’ (1994) 9 Wis Women’s LJ 67 <;

[13] Regina A Schuller, ‘Expert Evidence and Its Impact on Jurors’ Decisions in Homicide Trials Involving Battered Women’ (2003) 10 Duke J Gender L & Pol’y 225 <;

[14] Mary Ann Dutton, ‘Update of the “Battered Woman Syndrome” Critique’ (n 11).

[15] Lenore E A Walker, ‘Battered Women Syndrome and Self-Defense’ (1992) 6 Notre Dame JL Ethics & Pub Pol’y 321 <>; Anna Gotter, ‘Battered Women Syndrome’ (Healthline, May 6, 2021) <,woman%20syndrome%20may%20feel%20helpless>

[16] Katherine K. Baker, ‘Gender and Emotion in Criminal Law’ (2005) 28 Harv J L & Gender 447 <;

[17] Jacquelyne R. Biggers, ‘The Utility of Diagnostic Language as Expert Witness Testimony: Should Syndrome Terminology Be Used in Battering Cases?’ (2005) 5 (1) Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice 43 < >

[18] ibid.

[19] The Validity and Use of Evidence Concerning Battering and Its Effects in Criminal Trials: Report Responding to Section 40507 of the Violence against Women Act (U.S. Department of Justice, May 1996) < >

[20] Noel Rivers-Schutte, ‘History of the Battered Woman Syndrome- a fallen attempt to redefine the reasonable person standard in domestic violence cases’ (2013) Law School Student Scholarship < >

[21] ‘Battered Women Who Kill Their Abusers’ (1993) 106 Harv L Rev 1577

[22] Phyllis L Crocker, ‘The Meaning of Equality for Battered Woman Who Kill Men in Self-Defense’ (1985) 8 Harv Women’s LJ 121

[23] ibid 126- 127.

[24] State v Wanrow, 88 Wash. 2d 221, 559 P.2d 548 (1977)

[25] Elizabeth Bochank and Elissa Krauss (eds), Women’s Self-Defense Cases: Theory and Practice (Lexis Pub 1981)

[26] Hawthorne v State, 408 So. 2d 801, 806 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1982)

[27] Mary Ann Dutton, Lisa A. Goodman, Kevin Weinfurt and Nataile Vankos, ‘Patterns of Intimate Partner Violence: Correlates and Outcomes’ (2005) 20 (5) Violence and Victims 483 <>

[28] Laxmi Baadi v. HMG [2003] Decision No. 7246, 2060   (N.K.P 2060, no. 7/8, Decision no. 7246, p.578)

[29] Joak Kumari Karki v GoN, Decision No. 8223, 2066 (2009)

[30] Chapter of Court Management of Muluki Ain 2020, no. 188.

[31] Dibya Shrestha and Nisha Bhandari, ‘Battered Women Syndrome: Need for Judicial Objectivity’ (2018) 6 Kathmandu Sch L Rev 149 <;

[32] GoN v Sena Lama Sherpa, Sc. Bull. vol. 1, at 29 (2072)

[33] GoN v Ganga alias Kabita Bajgai (Adhikari), Sc. Bull. Vol. 1, at 5 (2073)

[34] Shanti BK v GoN, NKP 2061, no. 6, p.769, Criminal Appeal No. 3091 of 2059

[35] Indira Silwal, ‘Battered Woman Syndrome as a Mitigating Factor of Homicide in Nepal’ (2017) 11 NJA LJ 151 <>

[36] Government of Nepal (as per the FIR of Gurans Devi Lama) v Radhika Shrestha [2014] Decision No. 9242, 2071

[37] ‘SC sets precedent over Battered Women Syndrome’, New Spotlight (5 January 2015) < >

[38] ‘The Government of Nepal as per the FIR of Gurans Devi Lama v Radhika Shrestha’ (2016) 10 NJA LJ 275 <;

[39] Dibya Shrestha and Nisha Bhandari, ‘Battered Women Syndrome: Need for Judicial Objectivity’ (n 31).

[40] The National Penal Code 2017 (Muluki Aparaadh Samhita 2074), s 39 (h); The Criminal Offences (Sentencing and Execution) Act 2017, s 15.

[41] Dibya Shrestha and Nisha Bhandari, ‘Battered Women Syndrome: Need for Judicial Objectivity’ (n 31).

[42] Martha Shaffer, ‘The Battered Woman Syndrome Revisited: Some Complicating thoughts Five Years after R. v. Lavallee’ (1997) 47 U Toronto LJ 9  <;

[43] Susan S.M Edwards, ‘Neither Bad Nor Mad: The Female Violent Offender Reassessed’ (1986) 9 (1) Women’s Studies Int. Forum 79 <>

[44] Jacqueline R Castel, ‘Discerning Justice for Battered Women Who Kill’ (1990) 48 U Toronto Fac L Rev 229  < >

[45] Mary Becker, ‘Access to Justice for Battered Women’ (2003) 12 Wash U JL & Pol’y 63 <;; Julie Stubbs and Julia Tolmie, ‘Falling Short of the Challenge – A Comparative Assessment of the Australian Use of Expert Evidence on the Battered Woman Syndrome’ (1999) 23 Melb U L Rev 709 <;; Shelby A D Moore, ‘Battered Woman Syndrome: Selling the Shadow to Support the Substance’ (1995) 38 Howard LJ 297 <>

[46] Mary Ann Dutton, ‘Understanding Women’s Responses to Domestic Violence: A Redefinition of Battered Woman Syndrome’ (1993) 21 Hofstra L Rev 1191<;

[47] Cheryl A Terrance, Karyn M Plumm and Katlin J Rhyner, ‘Expert Testimony in Cases Involving Battered Women Who Kill: Going beyond the Battered Woman Syndrome’ (2012) 88 ND L Rev 921 <>

[48] Indira Silwal, ‘Battered Woman Syndrome as a Mitigating Factor of Homicide in Nepal’ (n 35).

[49] Doma Lameni v HMG, 37, NKP 104 (2046); Indira Silwal, ‘Battered Woman Syndrome as a Mitigating Factor of Homicide in Nepal’ (n 35).

[50] Indira Silwal, ‘Battered Woman Syndrome as a Mitigating Factor of Homicide in Nepal’

[51] Nepal Govemment on behalf of Rajan Rai  v Amrika Rai, Case no. 236/2061 (Shravan 5 2065).

[52] Martin P. Seligman and Steven F. Maier, ‘ Learned Helplessness: Theory and Evidence’ (1976) 105 (1) Journal of Experimental Psychology 3 < >

[53] Steven F. Maier and Martin E P Seligman, ‘Learned Helplessness at Fifty: Insights from Neuroscience’ (2016) 123 (4) Psychological Review 349 <,learning%20undermined%20trying%20to%20escape >

[54] New Zealand Law Commission, Battered Defendants Victims of Domestic Violence Who Offended

[55] W.R. Miller and M.E. Seligman, ‘Depression and Learned Helplessness in man’ (1975) 84 (3) Journal of Abnormal Psychology; L.Y. Abramson, M.E. Seligman and J. D.Teasdale, ‘Learned helplessness in humans: critique and reformulation’ 87 (1) Journal of Abnormal Psychology 49 <>

[56] Jone Bosworth, ‘The Trouble with Battered Women’s Syndrome’ (1996) 11 Adelphia LJ 63

[57] Maryanne E Kampmann, ‘The Legal Victimization of Battered Women’ (1993) 15 Women’s Rts L Rep 101

[58] State of Kansas v Hundley, 236 Kan.461, 693 P.2d 475 (1985).

[59] Einat Peled and others, ‘Choice And Empowerment For Battered Women Who Stay: Toward A Constructivist Model’ (2000) 45 Social Work 9 <;

[60] Mira Mihajlovich, ‘Does Plight Make Right: The Battered Woman Syndrome, Expert Testimony and the Law of Self-Defense’ (1987) 62 (4) Indiana Law Journal 1253 <>

[61] Christopher Peterson, Stefen F. Maier and Martin E.P. Seligman, Learned helplessness: A Theory for the age of Personal Control (OUP 1995)

[62] New Zealand Law Commission (n 54).

[63] State v Kelly, 97 N.J. 178 (1984)

[64] Government of Nepal (as per the FIR of Gurans Devi Lama) v Radhika Shrestha, Decision No. 9242, 2071 (2014).

[65] Frontiero v Richardson, 411 U.S. 677, 684 (1973)

[66] Lenore E Walker and Roberta K Thyfault and Angela Browne, ‘Beyond the Juror’s Ken: Battered Women’ (n 3).

[67] ibid.

[68] Paul C. Giannelli, ‘Battered Woman Syndrome’  (n 2).

[69] Marilyn McMahon, ‘Battered Women and Bad Science: The Limited Validity and Utility of

Battered Woman Syndrome’ (1999) 6(1) Psychiatry, Psychology and Law 23 <;

[70] Matthew Fine, ‘Hear Me Now: The Admission of Expert Testimony on Battered Women’s Syndrome – An Evidentiary Approach’ (2013) 20 Wm & Mary J Women & L 221 <>

[71] Jeffery Robinson, ‘Defense Strategies for Battered Women Who Assault Their Mates: State v Curry’ (1981) 4 Harv Women’s LJ 161<;; Pamela Posch, ‘The Negative Effects of Expert Testimony on the Battered Women’s Syndrome’ (1998) 6 Am U J Gender & L 485 < >; Steffani J Saitow, ‘Battered Woman Syndrome: Does the Reasonable Battered Woman Exist’ (1993) 19 New Eng J on Crim & Civ Confinement 329 <>

[72] Mary Ann Dutton, ‘Understanding Women’s Responses to Domestic Violence: A Redefinition of Battered Woman Syndrome’  (n 46).

[73] M Julianne Leary, ‘A Woman, a Horse, and a Hickory Tree: The Development of Expert Testimony on the Battered Woman Syndrome in Homicide Cases’  (n 1).

[74] Lenore E A Walker, ‘Battered Women Syndrome and Self-Defense’ (n 15).

[75] Jone Bosworth, ‘The Trouble with Battered Women’s Syndrome’ (n 56).

[76] J Bruce Robertson, ‘Battered Woman Syndrome: Expert Evidence in Action’ (1998) 9 Otago L Rev 277 <;

[77] Gail S Zarosa, ‘When Battered Women Strike Back’ (1996-1997) 7 US AF Acad J Legal Stud 97 <;; Carolyn Wilkes Kaas, ‘The Admissibility of Expert Testimony on the Battered Woman Syndrome in Support of a Claim of Self-Defense’ (1982) 15 Conn L Rev 121 <>

[78] Paul H. Robinson, Criminal Law Defenses: Criminal Law Practice Series (1984) 57

[79] Aileen McColgan, ‘In Defence of Battered Women who Kill’ (1993) 13 Oxford J Legal Stud 516 <;

[80] Lauren K Fernandez, ‘Battered Women Syndrome’ (2007) 8 Geo J Gender & L 235

[81] A Renee Callahan, ‘Will the Real Battered Woman Please Stand Up–In Search of a Realistic Legal Definition of Battered Woman Syndrome’ (1994) 3 Am U J Gender & L 117 <;; Paula Donner Walter, ‘Expert Testimony and Battered Women: Conflict among the Courts and a Proposal’ (1982) 3 J Legal Med 267 <;

[82] David L Faigman, ‘Discerning Justice When Battered Women Kill’ (1987) 39 Hastings L J 207 <;

[83] Gail S Zarosa, ‘When Battered Women Strike Back’ (n 77).

[84] Katherine O’Donovan, ‘Defences for Battered Women Who Kill’ (1991) 18 JL & Soc’y 219 <;

[85] People v Torres, 128 Misc. 2d 129, 130, 488 N.Y.S.2d 361, 362 (1985).

[86] Jenae R Bunyak, ‘Battered Wives Who Kill: Civil Liability and the Admissibility of Battered Woman’s Syndrome Testimony’ (1986) 4 Law & Ineq 603 <;

[87] Lenore E Walker, Roberta K Thyfault and Angela Browne, ‘Beyond the Juror’s Ken: Battered Women’ (n 3).

[88] Julie Blackman and Ellen Brickman, ‘The impact of expert testimony on trials of battered women who kill their husbands’ (1984) 2 Behav Sci & L 413

[89] State v Thomas, 66 Ohio St. 2d 518, 423 N.E.2d 137 (Ohio 1981)

[90] State v Kelly, 97 N.J. 178 (1984)

[91]  R v Runjanjic and Kontinnen (1991) 56 SASR 114. South Australian Court of Appeal

[92] Buhrle v State 627 P.2d 1374 (Wyo. 1981); State v Thomas, 66 Ohio St. 2d 518, 423 N.E.2d 137 (Ohio 1981); Hawthorne v State, 470 So. 2d 770 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1985)

[93] Lauren K Fernandez, ‘Battered Women Syndrome’  (n 80) 5.

[94] Marilyn McMahon, ‘Battered Women and Bad Science: The Limited Validity and Utility of Battered Woman Syndrome’ (n 69) 3.

[95] Fielder v State 683 S.W.2d 565, 594 (Tex. App. 1985)

[96] Julie Blackman and Ellen Brickman, ‘The impact of expert testimony on trials of battered women who kill their husbands’ (n 88).

[97] ibid.

[98] ibid.

[99] Government of Nepal (as per the FIR of Gurans Devi Lama) v Radhika Shrestha, Decision No. 9242, 2071 (2014).

[100] Dyas v United States, 376 A.2d 827, 832 (1977)

[101] Ibn-Tamas v. United States, 407 A.2d 626, 639 (D.C. Ct. App. 1979).

[102] Paul C. Gianelli, ‘“Junk Science”: The Criminal Cases’, (1993) 84 Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 105 <;; Allison Morse, ‘Social Science in the Courtroom: Expert Testimony and Battered Women’ (1998) 21 Hamline L Rev 287  <>

[103] Jessica Savage, ‘Battered Woman Syndrome ‘ (2006) 7 Geo J Gender & L 76 <>

[104] Elizabeth Sheehy, ‘Battered Women and Mandatory Minimum Sentences’ (2001) 39 Osgoode Hall LJ 529 <>

[105] State v. Martin, 666 S.W.2d 895 (Mo. Ct. App. 1984).

[106] Joy Dodge, ‘Porter v. State: Appropriately Pushing the Limits of the Battered Spouse Syndrome Statute’ (2018) 18 U Md LJ Race, Religion, Gender & Class 235 <;

[107] Anu Lohani, ‘Providing Justice for Women: The Interface between Law and Literature’ (2008) 2 NJA LJ 123 <>