About

Diana Davison is an artist, writer, and cartoonist with a background in the film industry. As a Canadian she has a good vantage point in the North for observing the insanity created by the Feminist lobby. With vast experience in being female she has decided to use her talents at having a vagina to speak out against her fellow Woxan.

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30 thoughts on “About

  1. I just read your article Women don’t own sex at http://www.avoiceformen.com/feminism/women-dont-own-sex/ I laughed and totally enjoyed it. I wanted to leave you a link to a blog that I, “Woman Unformed” and Amanda James just posted. it reflects your views beautifully with a different voice. Orgasms, Cocaine and Wall Street: A Four Part Essay on Weak Women at http://streamsbreath.blogspot.com/2013/09/orgasms-cocaine-and-wall-street-four.html

    D Jon Harrison

  2. Hey Diana,

    I’m currently writing some material for V4M; and took your comments serious, that you are a good researcher. …So I’m wondering if you could throw out a topic for me- one that could test my own skills- that you are especially knowledgeable about? Looking for a challenge; and something to get some feedback from (after the fact, if/when it gets posted).
    Need a challenge, because feminism is no challenge at all!!
    Go girl, you!
    H.

    • Take on “intersectionality”. I did a sarcastic piece about it at the start of the year but it needs to be deconstructed properly. They’ve essentially taken an argument that makes it impossible to claim to be part of a group but used it to support group politics.

      • Diana, I have enjoyed reading a few of your articles today. There is some very clear thinking here, and I appreciate most that you phrase things accurately. I am not sure if thinking this well is universally learnable, but thinking better definitely is. If everyone were doing the work I imagine you must have done to learn to think as clearly and communicate as accurately as you do, I think there would be much less suffering in the world. IMO, you are doing your share, and your work has been helpful to me. Thank you.

  3. Brooklyn Law Review Winter, 1993 FATAL DEFENSE: AN ANALYSIS OF BATTERED WOMAN’S SYNDROME EXPERT TESTIMONY FOR GAY MEN AND LESBIANS WHO KILL ABUSIVE PARTNERS Denise Bricker Introduction In 1977, while living in her native Puerto Rico, Annette Green met Yvonne Julio. [FN1] Green was eighteen-years-old and spoke no English. After developing a sexual relationship, the couple moved to Florida where they set up housekeeping in a trailer. Green cared for Julio’s two young twin daughters, got a job in a nursery and began to attend school to learn English. One night, soon after they had moved to Florida, Green cooked a meal that “did not come out right.” [FN2] Julio responded by punching her until she could no longer breathe. After this initial incident, the relationship deteriorated. Julio forced Green to sleep on a mattress on the floor at the foot of the bed and beat her often, sometimes in the presence of other people. Friends of the couple witnessed Julio strike Green with her fists, her feet and once with a two-by-four wooden board. The violence escalated further after Julio purchased a handgun. People at the trailer park saw Green fleeing her home on a number of occasions, with Julio in pursuit and the gun drawn. Sometimes Julio held the gun to Green’s and the children’s heads, one time threatening to “blow [her own daughter’s] brains out.” [FN3] When Green intervened, she was beaten. Both Green and the children sustained numerous injuries *1380 over the eleven years of the relationship. Green’s coworkers at the nursery often saw her with black eyes and facial bruises. She suffered, on different occasions, a busted lip, hematomas, concussions, broken ribs, a broken nose and a dislocated jaw. Several times she was beaten unconscious. Once a next-door neighbor noticed that a “hunk of meat was out of [Green’s] arm.” [FN4] On the same day, one of the daughters had bite marks and bruises all over her arms and back. Green’s attempts to leave were constantly thwarted by Julio. On one occasion, after a severe beating, Green tried to escape but was captured by Julio and tied to the bed. Even when she was able to break away she soon returned. Initially she returned because she believed or wanted to believe Julio’s promises of reform. As Julio’s threats of violence increased, however, she returned because she feared that Julio would kill her if she did not return, or harm the children or others. On October 29, 1988 Green accompanied Julio and the children to a Halloween party. While at the party, Green drank approximately five or six beers and three mixed drinks; Julio drank and also snorted cocaine. Later in the evening Green decided to take the children home. When Julio did not return after a few hours, Green began to worry; when Julio drank and used drugs, a beating usually followed. Green phoned the party several times attempting to convince Julio to come home. When this failed, she drove back to the party at 3:45 a.m. Julio was extremely angry. The couple and another friend drove back to the trailer. Upon arriving at the home, Julio immediately went into the bedroom where the safe was kept. Green knew that the safe usually contained more cocaine and Julio’s guns. Green followed Julio into the bedroom and the two began to argue. Green picked up a knife and told Julio to get away from the safe. Julio reached for the knife and Green stabbed her in the thigh. Julio then looked at Green “like fire was going to come out of her eyes” and said, pointing to the dresser, “That’s it. You might as well kill me. There’s the gun.” [FN5] Green assumed that Julio now intended to kill her. Green picked up the gun and Julio lunged at her. Green *1381 told her not to come any closer and cocked the gun. Julio said, “That is it. I am going to get the gun.” [FN6] Green pulled the trigger and Julio fell to the ground. Green yelled for her friend, who was still in the living room, to call the police. When the police arrived, they found Julio dead with a gunshot wound to the face and a stab wound in her thigh. Green confessed to the murder. [FN7] At Green’s trial for first degree murder, the defense offered testimony from an expert on intimate violence to support Green’s plea of self-defense. [FN8] The expert was permitted to testify about battered woman’s syndrome, [FN9] and to give an opinion on whether Green suffered from the syndrome and was in fear of bodily harm on the night of the murder. [FN10] Despite the defense’s efforts, a jury convicted Green of second degree murder on September 7, 1989. Jurors questioned after [her] trial said that male jurors refused to believe Green suffered from battered woman syndrome, although all believed that she had been beaten. According to [one member of the defense team], the prosecution played heavily on the fact, admitted by Green in direct examination, that she had once before threatened her lover with a gun. Thus, Green was taken out of the realm of the victim and placed into that of the perpetrator—no longer worthy of the jury’s mercy. [FN11] The judge sentenced Green to twelve years in prison and five *1382 years probation. [FN12] In 1991 an appellate court reversed her conviction due to technical errors during the jury voir dire. [FN13] On remand Green accepted a plea bargain in the Spring of 1991 and was sentenced to time served. [FN14] Annette Green’s case is compelling on a number of different levels. First, it is a part of the growing body of evidence that intimate violence [FN15] is as prevalent in the gay and lesbian community as it is in the heterosexual community. [FN16] Second, it is the first case in which an expert on battered woman’s syndrome was *1383 permitted to testify in a battered lesbian self-defense case. [FN17] Third, it stands as stark evidence that testimony on battered woman’s syndrome fails many defendants who do not fit the stereotype of the “good battered woman.” [FN18] Although heterosexual women are most likely to experience intimate violence from male partners, [FN19] there is evidence that gay men and lesbians [FN20] are as likely, proportionally, to encounter violence in their intimate relationships. [FN21] Furthermore, typical *1384 gay and lesbian violence and its patterns and effects appear to be virtually identical to heterosexual intimate violence. [FN22] The only difference, which is not minor, is the couple’s shared gender. Despite this difference, however, the severity of the violence against gay and lesbian partners often yields the same result: victimized partners resort to lethal force. In some of these cases, like those of some heterosexual battered women, the lethal conduct occurs in circumstances that support a viable self-defense claim. [FN23] According to many feminist legal scholars, however, self-defense has been historically unsuccessful when used by battered women. Theorists who studied women’s self-defense cases in the mid-1970s found that judges and jurors were often unable to separate their preconceived notions of intimate violence and of femininity from the individual woman on trial for killing her abusive spouse. [FN24] Consequently, feminists urged the admittance of expert testimony on battered woman’s syndrome, in large part derived from Dr. Lenore Walker’s theories, to convey the woman’s experiences to the judge and jurors and to rebut the stereotypes that influenced how the woman’s actions were viewed. Recently such testimony has been criticized by feminist commentators for focusing on learned helplessness to explain the woman’s failure to flee the relationship [FN25] and for its part in creating a stereotype of the “good battered woman.” [FN26] Yet, battered *1385 woman’s syndrome remains the theory most commonly used to explain the cycle and effect of intimate violence on heterosexual women. [FN27] Similarly, many judges and jurors subscribe to stereotypes of gay men and lesbians that influence their perception of the battered defendant and his or her actions. [FN28] Prejudice against gay men and lesbians is particularly deep-rooted and, in some cases, publicly sanctioned by the state. [FN29] Just as preconceived notions about women have muddied a fact-finder’s ability to assess heterosexual intimate violence, so do preconceived notions about gay men and lesbians affect a fact-finder’s ability to judge gay and lesbian self-defense cases. For these reasons, gay men and lesbians on trial for killing their abusive partners are in the same position as heterosexual women defendants. Thus, their defense requires a similar type of expert testimony that can rebut the dangerous presumptions held by the judge and jury. Despite the similarities between heterosexual battered women and battered gay men and lesbians, reliance on traditional battered woman’s syndrome expert testimony by gay men and lesbians will likely exacerbate their problems at trial, rather than alleviate them. First, the Walker model of battered woman’s syndrome has been largely unsuccessful in non-traditional cases and may expose the defendant to stereotypes and misperceptions to which battered heterosexual women have been exposed. [FN30] Second, because the testimony on battered woman’s syndrome was developed for use with battered women, the theory itself is gender-specific. Its language and many of its basic *1386 tenets do not translate to same-sex couples. [FN31] Although battered woman’s syndrome is the term attorneys, judges and the public identify most readily with the causes and effects of intimate violence, expert testimony on intimate violence does not have to be offered under its auspices. In fact, two of the more recent studies on battered women and family violence mention the term “battered woman’s syndrome” only when referring either to the kind of expert testimony routinely offered in court, [FN32] or specifically to Walker. [FN33] Both empirically-based studies offer compelling explanations for intimate violence and its effects without focusing on helplessness or on gender-role theories. The thoughtful use of these studies instead of battered woman’s syndrome may result in less gender-role analysis [FN34] and sexual stereotyping by the jury. [FN35] This Note analyzes expert testimony on battered woman’s syndrome in terms of its gender-specificity and argues that, despite the similarities between heterosexual intimate violence and same-sex intimate violence, the terminology and basic assumptions associated with the testimony make it inapplicable to gay and lesbian defendants. Part I explores the similarities and differences between same-sex intimate violence and heterosexual intimate violence, revealing the relative unavailability of emergency and legal services to gay men and lesbians as compared to those available to battered women. Part II explains how stereotypes and biases against women have historically affected their *1387 use of the traditional defense of justification. This Part argues that stereotypes of and prejudices against gay men and lesbians similarly undermine the fair adjudication of their cases. Part III discusses the creation of expert testimony on battered woman’s syndrome, the subsequent criticisms of the way the testimony has been given and heard, and how these criticisms are likely to affect the ability of gay and lesbian defendants to use the testimony successfully. Since this Note concludes that gay and lesbian self-defense cases likely will suffer from the use of expert testimony on battered woman’s syndrome, it proposes the use of two alternative theories of intimate violence that may result in less gender-role analysis by the judge and jury. I. Comparing the Experiences of Intimate Violence by Gay Men and Lesbians to Heterosexuals Intimate violence between gay men or between lesbians is at once similar to and different from heterosexual intimate violence. [FN36] The violence itself, its patterns and its results, appears to be virtually identical. However, the difference—the couple’s shared gender—so fundamentally alters people’s perception of *1388 the relationship that the similarities are dwarfed. For this reason, battered gay men and lesbians do not receive the treatment provided to battered heterosexual women. There is virtually no area, from victim emergency services to police and judicial responses to the batterer, where homophobic attitudes do not color the way same-sex intimate violence is treated. The irrationality of the attitude that the gender of the partners should dictate the response to the violence is particularly ironic when accounts by same-sex intimate violence survivors usually make no reference to the gender of the parties. A. Typical Patterns of Intimate Violence There are no reliable statistics on the prevalence of intimate violence in the gay and lesbian community. Anecdotal evidence from shelter workers, psychologists and anti-violence project personnel, however, indicates that such violence probably occurs at the same rate as it occurs in heterosexual households or in approximately twenty percent of all gay and lesbian relationships. [FN37] There is some evidence that violence may occur with more frequency between gay men than between lesbians, [FN38] but *1389 here, as elsewhere, too little empirical research has been done. [FN39] Regardless of the numbers, it is clear from personal accounts that intimate violence exists [FN40] and that it can be lethal. [FN41] Gay and lesbian survivors of intimate violence indicate that the typical abuse they encountered was virtually identical to and followed the same patterns as the violence in abusive heterosexual relationships. Victims report physical assaults and assaults with weapons, [FN42] rape and sex on demand, [FN43] property damage, [FN44] *1390 harassment, death threats against the victim and third parties, [FN45] economic control, [FN46] and psychological abuse, including isolation from friends and family. [FN47] Like heterosexual women, gay or lesbian*1391 victims of intimate violence may encounter one, some or all of these acts of violence. During the next six months … I was hit and slapped, often till I was black and blue. I was picked up and thrown against walls…. I was physically thrown out of the house in the snow with no shoes or coat. I had black eyes and fractured fingers. She destroyed things I loved. She would trap me, not letting me leave the room or the house or the car until the outburst was over. [FN48] Gay and lesbian batterers also use threats to expose publicly the victim’s sexual orientation, a form of psychological abuse absent from violent heterosexual relationships. Because of the potential consequences of this exposure, these threats may be particularly disabling: Once they come out, lesbians and gay men risk personal rejection by others, discrimination, and even violence, all experiences that can have enduring psychological consequences…. Suffering antigay assault or other overt victimization can create considerable distress, including feelings of personal loss, rejection, humiliation, and depression; agitation, restlessness and sleep disturbances; somatic symptoms such as headaches and diarrhea; and deterioration in personal relationships. [FN49] The pattern of violence and victims’ reactions to the violence appear similar to those researchers have noted in heterosexual battering relationships. [FN50] As in heterosexual relationships, the first incident of violence typically does not occur until the couple has made some sort of commitment, such as living together. One woman noted: “Throughout our courtship, she was tender and loving. From the onset of our co-habitation, however, *1392 physical violence erupted.” [FN51] Another battered lesbian wrote: “Sue and I were living together maybe three days when we were in the bedroom and she became angry and hit me.” [FN52] This is significant because it makes it more difficult for the victim to abandon the relationship. [FN53] Once the violence has begun, it appears to follow a progression similar to that noted in violent heterosexual relationships, [FN54] increasing in frequency and severity as the relationship progresses: As time went on, X’s explosions increased in frequency and they got closer and closer to being physically abusive…. [S]he did, in fact, try to choke me one night…. [FN55] The relationship lasted for eleven years. The violence got worse…. It became more frequent. Smaller things set it off…. The black and blue marks got bigger. [FN56] Separation violence—violence that continues after the couple has terminated the relationship—is also present: Months later—nearly a year—when she sharply realized that I would not return to her, she turned her violence away from herself, and on to me…. When I saw her in person, she physically and verbally threatened me. She punched my face and hit my body. She shoved *1393 me. She harassed me on the phone. One night I returned home from work to find my apartment destroyed; all of my clothes slashed to ribbons, my piano seriously damaged, precious items destroyed or stolen, plants massacred. [FN57] The physical and psychological reactions of gay or lesbian victims are also similar to heterosexual victims. Some victims: leave and return a number of times; [FN58] blame themselves for the violence; [FN59] experience a sense of low self-esteem; [FN60] remain emotionally attached to the batterer despite the violence; [FN61] or use *1394 force in self-defense. Again, as in heterosexual relationships, some victims may react in all or a few of these ways. [FN62] It should be noted that the issue of victims’ retaliatory acts of self-defense, commonly referred to as mutual battering, has received much more attention in the gay and lesbian community than in the heterosexual community. [FN63] Due to the heterosexual community’s relative silence on mutual battering, many gay and lesbian victims of intimate violence do not identify themselves as battered because they fought back. [FN64] Studies of heterosexual battering have shown, however, that up to forty-nine percent of all battered women fight back on occasion. [FN65] Thus, being defined as a battered person is not dependent upon total complacency, although experts on battered woman’s syndrome often leave this impression. B. Social and Legal Treatment of Gay and Lesbian Victims of Intimate Violence Despite these similarities, gay and lesbian victims of abuse do not share the same access to services, protection by law enforcement or the judicial system, or support from their community that battered women receive. Counseling services are available in only four cities [FN66] and, while there are approximately 850 *1395 shelters for battered women and their children nationwide, no city has an emergency shelter specifically for gay men or lesbians. [FN67] While a few lesbians are able to use battered women’s services, [FN68] gay men do not have this option and thus are affected even more by the overall lack of services. [FN69] Recent studies have linked the availability of services to a decrease in female-perpetrated intimate homicide rates. [FN70] Since gay men and lesbians lack these services it is likely that violence and lethality levels will remain high. Police officers and the judicial system have been historically *1396 unresponsive to gay and lesbian intimate violence, leaving victims without sufficient help from the legal system. Largely as a result of police indifference, gay and lesbian victims of crime are generally less likely than heterosexuals to report incidents of violence to the police. [FN71] Even if contacted, police downplay the seriousness of assaults between gay men and lesbians and often neglect to arrest the batterer. [FN72] As one psychologist noted: I’ve heard a lot of horror stories about the police not treating [ [ [lesbian victims] seriously, and really being abusive themselves in terms of giving the woman a hard time…. That doesn’t have so much to do with the violence itself, but how our society reacts, and how hard it is for lesbian women who are being battered to get help. [FN73] Fearing such a police response, and often desiring to remain closeted, victims see no escape from the violence, thus trapping *1397 them more deeply in the relationship. [FN74] Even when victims succeed in having their batterers arrested or appear in court to request an order of protection, judges and prosecutors may be unwilling or unable to help the victim. First, their own negative attitudes concerning gay men and lesbians may color their ability to act fairly. [FN75] Second, because many court personnel are aware of the popular theories that base the perpetuation of intimate violence on male and female gender roles, they may be unable to identify intimate violence in a gay or lesbian relationship. [FN76] This problem is particularly acute when both parties appear in court and claim to be battered. While a judge would likely dismiss a man’s claim that he was also battered by his female spouse, the same judge may assume that both parties in a gay or lesbian relationship are equally to blame or equally capable of inflicting damage. [FN77] Finally, even if police and judges were to react decisively to gay and lesbian intimate violence, at least sixteen states have domestic violence laws that do not reach same-sex, non-related cohabitants. [FN78] Generally, domestic violence laws provide funding *1398 for counseling and shelter space, establish information-gathering systems, and provide for state-sponsored research. [FN79] In some cities a combination of laws and policies encourage the arrest of batterers, provide for protective orders, mandate arrest for violation of those orders, and define certain acts of intimate violence as felonies. [FN80] States that define domestic violence so as not to include same-sex, non-related partners effectively bar gay men and lesbians from these protections. Finally, unlike most battered women today, many victims of abuse report being alienated from the gay and lesbian community once they publicly acknowledge the abusive relationship. [FN81] One explanation for the community’s general unwillingness to help is that many gay men and lesbians do not believe that violence occurs in same-sex relationships or that it could be as serious as it is between a man and a woman. Ironically, we may be more tempted as lesbians to hold victims responsible for the physical violence they suffer…. It is hard for our friends to see us, strong and tough-minded women that we are, as victims*1399 of abuse from partners who may be physically smaller. Paradoxically, even our friends might buy into the old stereotype that somehow, women aren’t big enough or strong enough to really do each other damage in a physical fight. [FN82] Gay and lesbian victims who experience rejection from their community, especially if the rejection is coupled with support for the batterer, may feel compelled to remain in the relationship and thus suffer continued abuse. Another explanation for the community’s failure to recognize publicly same-sex violence is the fear that acknowledgement will lead to increased derision from the heterosexual community because it will affirm the homophobic attitude that gay men and lesbians are sick. [FN83] Some theorists believe that this fear is rooted in gay men’s and lesbians’ own internalized homophobia. [FN84] Internalized homophobia can cause the individual to be defensive about his or her sexual orientation and thus unwilling to recognize the problem of same-sex violence even in the individual’s own relationship. [FN85] Additionally, some legal theorists argue that even if the gay and lesbian community were to accept the fact of intimate violence, the issue of same-sex intimate violence should remain isolated from the heterosexual community. Since the heterosexual model of intimate violence is based on stereotypical gender roles not applicable to gay men or lesbians, it cannot be reconciled with violence that occurs between same-sex partners. [FN86] Any reliance on the heterosexist social or legal system is bound to be unsatisfactory because gay men and lesbians will be unable to present the abuse as consistent with the heterosexual model. II. Stereotypes and Biases that Affect Fair Adjudication When feminists first began advocating the rights of battered women who killed in the mid-1970s, [FN87] they recognized that one *1400 of the most damaging issues for the defense was the way in which women’s cases were affected by stereotypes of and bias against women in the criminal justice system. [FN88] We developed the legal argument for women’s “equal rights to trial,” which challenged sex-bias in the law of self-defense, based upon our knowledge of the particular problems women who killed men in self-defense faced in the criminal justice system: the prevalence of homicides committed by women in circumstances of male physical abuse or sexual assault; the different circumstances in which men and women killed; myths and misconceptions in the criminal justice system concerning women who kill as “crazy;” the problems of domestic violence, physical abuse, and sexual abuse of women and children; the physical and psychological barriers that prevented women from feeling capable of defending themselves; and stereotypes of women as unreasonable. [FN89] Stereotypes and anti-woman bias harmed female defendants on two levels. First, societal expectations of women’s role in family and society had a strong influence on the fact-finder. Second, the traditional doctrine of self-defense was better suited to men who killed than to women who killed abusive male partners. Feminist legal theory was premised at least partially on the assumption that women could not receive a fair trial if the negative attitudes of jurors and judges were left unchallenged. [FN90] Unless jurors and judges were educated, they would be unable to view the female defendant’s actions as reasonable because their deliberations and rulings would remain colored by their attitudes. Accepting this premise, feminist scholars worked to develop expert testimony on battered woman’s syndrome to convey the experiences of battered women to the judge and jury. Similarly, anti-gay bias and stereotypes about gay men and lesbians, which consistently depict them as aberrant or sick, [FN91] *1401 negatively affect the fairness by which their cases are heard and adjudicated. [FN92] Judges and jurors often are unable to separate their attitudes about the defendant’s sexual orientation from the defendant’s actions. Gay men’s and lesbians’ actions may be unreasonable simply because they are not “like us.” Furthermore, contemporary laws aimed at gay men and lesbians give an aura of acceptability to disparate treatment. Like battered women who killed, gay men and lesbians must first find a method to challenge these attitudes to present their cases to fair and impartial fact-finders. A. The Female Defendant: Facing Decades of Gender-Bias Woman abuse has a long history of acceptance by both the social and legal communities. Early English and American common law condoned wife-beating under the assumption that a woman was the property of her husband. [FN93] Even after the majority *1402 of states reclassified wife-beating as an assault, [FN94] prevailing notions of the sanctity and inviolability of the family continued to impede women who sought assistance from the legal system. [FN95] It was not until the mid-1970s, when feminists moved the previously private act of violence into the public spotlight, that the government began to respond to the needs of battered women. [FN96] Not only does a battered woman on trial for killing her abusive spouse face this historic acceptance of wife-beating by the legal system, she also confronts the social stereotypes of womanhood that may be held by judge and jury. [FN97] Influenced by their notions of an ideal female role model, fact-finders often fail to perceive the individual defendant independent of conclusions about how women are supposed to act. A woman who commits a violent act against her husband threatens jurors’ sense of order and security because, by destroying the family unit, she repudiates her natural role as a caring, nurturing mother/wife. [FN98] Furthermore,*1403 the jurors’ own conceptions of the family as a safe, healthy environment may lead them to deny the existence of violence altogether. [FN99] Rather than believe the woman, jurors choose to believe their own stereotype. Stereotypes of women’s passivity, submissiveness and unreasonableness skew the jurors’ perception of female defendants. [FN100] Jurors who harbor such stereotypes find it difficult to reconcile their image of the good/healthy/passive woman with the battered woman defendant who is on trial precisely because she was aggressive, and therefore “unfeminine” and “bad.” [FN101] Prosecutors often highlight these stereotypes to discredit the woman and her response to the violence. Defense attorneys in turn respond by playing up more sympathetic stereotypes: [P]rosecutors’ attacks on the defendants as women included portraying them as evil, discrediting their performances as wives and/or mothers, and reproaching them for inappropriate emotional responses. In one case the prosecutor described the defendant to the jury as a “nefarious, scheming, conniving, rotten, heartless, bloodthirsty, moralist, hardened, murdering rat….” [The defense countered] with a description of the 23-year old defendant as a “little girl,” once stating “she’s a nice little girl and everything, but she’s not a genius.” [FN102] Finally, like stereotypes of women in general, misperceptions about intimate violence, deeply rooted in our cultural notions of the woman’s place in society, make it difficult for jurors *1404 to appreciate the impact violence has on the individual. [FN103] Common myths about intimate violence include the belief that women provoke violence and therefore deserve to be beaten; [FN104] women stay in abusive relationships because they are masochistic and voluntarily participate in the violence; [FN105] flight from the abusive household ends the violence; [FN106] husbands or boyfriends have a right to strike their partners; police adequately protect battered women; battered women are in abusive relationships because they are psychologically imbalanced; women who kill their abusers are crazy; and only poor, uneducated women are beaten. [FN107] A juror who holds any of these beliefs unchallenged is less likely to understand the woman’s act of self-defense or perceive it as reasonable. Added to these gender stereotypes is the bias embodied in the traditional doctrine of self-defense. [FN108] At common law a defendant*1405 was justified in using deadly force against the victim if, at the time of its use, the defendant was not the aggressor and she reasonably believed that such force was necessary to combat imminent, unlawful deadly force by the victim. [FN109] Women traditionally have great difficulty successfully pleading self-defense. In part, this is because it is better suited to its original vision of combat between two male strangers of equal strength and fighting ability than it is to a woman faced with a male partner who has used violence against her in the past. [FN110] For example, the traditional doctrine required the actor to use only force in proportion to the force being used, or threatened, against her. [FN111] Many women who are smaller, weaker and/or less skilled in defending themselves than men are unable to ward off a potentially lethal attack by an unarmed assailant without the use of a weapon. [FN112] Strict enforcement of the proportional force rule leads some courts to find that the defendant could not have acted in self-defense because “a belief that the decedent unarmed might kill or greatly injure the defendant while she had a loaded gun [is] unreasonable.” [FN113] *1406 Similarly, the requirement that the force or threat of force be imminent disadvantages many women who cannot fight back during an attack. [FN114] Modern courts have reinterpreted the imminence requirement somewhat more broadly, permitting the jury to take into account the defendant’s subjective knowledge of the batterer’s past violence and the relative size and strength of the parties. [FN115] However, many courts continue to find that nontraditional confrontation cases [FN116] stretch the concept of imminence beyond traditional notions of reasonableness. [FN117] *1407 Despite the greater need for expert testimony in nontraditional cases, judges are more apt to exclude it because they are unable to perceive the defendant’s belief of imminent threat as reasonable. [FN118] In People v. Aris [FN119] the defendant shot her sleeping spouse after he told her that “ ‘he didn’t think he was going to let [her] live till the morning.’ ” [FN120] Here, the court concluded that expert testimony on battered woman’s syndrome was irrelevant. While the victim may have presented a serious danger to the defendant in the near future, “no ‘jury composed of reasonable men could have concluded that’ a sleeping victim presents an imminent danger of great bodily harm….” [FN121] The court continued: [W]here … the defendant’s own testimony establishes facts tending to show quite conclusively that there was nothing in the victim’s behavior indicating the existence of an imminent danger … it is not reasonably probable that [battered woman’s syndrome] testimony will convince the jury that, nevertheless, the defendant honestly perceived an imminent danger resulting in a different verdict. [FN122] The circle is vicious: the purpose of expert testimony is to acquaint the judge and jury with unusual phenomena, yet the further the defendant’s act is from the judge’s own experience the less likely he or she is to admit the testimony. Finally, many commentators criticize the “reasonable man standard” as it is applied to women in general and to battered *1408 women in particular. “Widespread adherence to the sex-biased ‘reasonable-man’ standard compounds women’s problems: ‘in all that mass of authorities which bears upon this branch of the law … there is no single mention of the reasonable woman.’ ” [FN123] Since the reasonable man standard envisions male conduct as the norm, any act by a woman that does not conform to the male ideal is unreasonable. [FN124] Yet if a battered woman defendant highlights the typically male aspects of her action and downplays the typically female aspects, the jury may punish her for being unfeminine. Many commentators have suggested that the only way to avoid this problem is to use another standard for battered women. [FN125] There is no consensus as to what standard should be used, however. Moreover, there are many theorists who object to the creation of a special standard for women: The issue is not the development of a new standard of self-defense for women, but the adjustment of existing statutes to account for differences in the experiences of women and men—particularly women faced with a male assailant, and women who are victims of repeated violent assaults by one assailant—so that the same standard can be applied to all victims. [FN126] The combination of these factors, the widely held stereotypes of women and gender roles and the bias of the traditional doctrine of self-defense, has led feminist legal theorists to argue that “someone not a battered woman[ ] is needed to translate the experiences of large numbers of women in this society to the rest of society’s representatives.” [FN127] As Professor Elizabeth Schneider *1409 argued: [T]he battered woman who killed her husband had nobody in the courtroom who was explaining her actions, who could identify with her and explain her experience and translate it to the jury…. They needed somebody else to translate and legitimate it to them because nobody was “female-bonding” or “battered woman-bonding” with her in the courtroom. The jury wasn’t likely to do that. [FN128] Absent such translation, jurors and judges are unable to view the actions of these women as reasonable because the women’s experiences fall beyond their understanding. B. Gay Men and Lesbians: The Firmly Entrenched Prejudices of a Heterosexist Legal System Although the bias that battered gay men and lesbians face as defendants is somewhat similar to the bias battered women face in court, it is also broader and more difficult to overcome. The sexual identity of the gay or lesbian defendant often becomes an issue during judicial proceedings. [FN129] Unlike biases concerning women, however, biased attitudes concerning sexual orientation are, at least in part, publicly sanctioned by laws. These laws, which are either aimed at or enforced primarily against gay men and lesbians, reinforce societal attitudes by condoning disparate treatment. [FN130] *1410 Judges and other court personnel routinely refer to popular negative attitudes about gay men and lesbians during the course of proceedings that concern gay or lesbian parties or issues. [FN131] In some cases, the discussion of negative attitudes is used to serve legitimate ends, such as to argue for equal treatment by the public, courts and legislatures, or to strike down an unfair policy or law. For example, in High Tech Gays v. Defense Industry Security Clearance Office [FN132] the court challenged the stereotypes that the Defense Department’s manual employed as its basis for requiring gay men and lesbians to endure a more stringent security clearance procedure: The Defense Department’s unequal treatment of gay people perpetuates the very types of archaic stereotypes that the [Defense Investigative Services] manual implies and that the equal protection clause attempts to extinguish, e.g. that all lesbians and gay men are emotionally unstable, sexually perverted, and particularly prone to blackmail and that homosexuality is deviant sexual behavior parallel to necrophilia, masochism, and pedophilia. [FN133] In some cases, however, negative stereotypes clearly influence either the presentation of the case to the court or the judge’s own reasoning process. For example, in Constant A. v. Paul C.A. [FN134] the court refused to grant the biological mother expanded custody for her children simply because she was a lesbian. “Here, the father and mother started equal; once the father established the mother’s lesbian relationship and his own legitimate and stable heterosexual relationship, a presumption *1411 arose favoring the preferability of the traditional relationship.” [FN135] Here, the judge had predetermined the character of the gay or lesbian party based on social stereotypes and was unable to apply the neutral standard for custody or visitation rights—the best interests of the child—fairly. In such courtrooms the gay or lesbian party bears a substantially greater burden in presenting his or her case. In other cases the laws or rules used by the court are facially biased and form a basis for additional discriminatory treatment by courts. One such example is state sodomy laws. [FN136] Sodomy laws may specifically prohibit oral-genital and anal-genital contact, or more generally “unnatural lascivious acts” or “crimes against nature.” [FN137] Currently, of the twenty-four states and the District of Columbia that have sodomy statutes in effect, [FN138] six prohibit such contact only between persons of the *1412 same gender. [FN139] The constitutionality of these laws was upheld by the Supreme Court in Bowers v. Hardwick, [FN140] where the Court found no fundamental privacy right to engage in same-sex sodomy. [FN141] While sodomy statutes are not routinely enforced against consenting adults, [FN142] they are often used as a justification for other forms of discriminatory treatment based on the assumption that gay men and lesbians violate these laws. For example, in Mississippi Gay Alliance v. Goudelock [FN143] the court used a Mississippi sodomy statute to support its finding that a student newspaper did not have to print advertisements that invited students to an off-campus Gay Center. The fact that Mississippi had a constitutional sodomy statute prohibiting “unnatural intercourse” was a “special reason[ ] for holding that there was no abuse of discretion by the editor of [the school paper].” [FN144] *1413 Furthermore, as the court in Baker v. Wade [FN145] noted in its opinion invalidating Texas’s sodomy statute, sodomy statutes negatively affect gay men and lesbians on virtually every level of daily existence: [T]he existence of these criminal laws, even if they are not enforced … does result in stigma, emotional stress and other adverse effects. The anxieties caused to homosexuals—fear of arrest, loss of jobs, discovery, etc.—can cause severe mental health problems. Homosexuals, as criminals, are often alienated from society and institutions, particularly law enforcement officials. They do suffer discrimination in housing, employment and other areas. [FN146] The state’s overt message to the public as well as to judges and jurors is that gay men and lesbians do not conduct their relationships like heterosexuals and therefore do not deserve the same treatment under the law that heterosexuals receive. Another state-endorsed form of discrimination is the failure of any state to extend the right or privilege of marriage to same-sex couples. [FN147] While gay men and lesbians may form life-long partnerships, benefits accorded to married couples by governmental and non-governmental institutions (such as workers’ compensation or life and health insurance) are unavailable to them. [FN148] Moreover, unmarried couples are subject to discrimination in areas of housing and zoning regulations, wills, tort claims, *1414 and adoption and custody cases. [FN149] States claim that the prohibition of same-sex marriage encourages procreation and promotes traditional values. [FN150] Some commentators argue that the true rationale behind this justification, and perhaps behind many anti-gay and lesbian attitudes, is the fear that recognition of same-sex marriages will further break down the artificial gender roles upon which our society is constructed. As one commentator argued: “Same-sex marriage could create the model in law for an egalitarian kind of interpersonal relation, outside the gendered terms of power, for many marriages. At the least, it would radically strengthen and dramatically illuminate the claim that marriage partners are presumptively equal.” [FN151] Other commentators are less hopeful about the effect of recognition of same-sex marriages. They argue that the gender roles upon which society is constructed can never be broken down. Marriage, as a reflection of these gender roles, will only force gay men and lesbians to “hetero-relationalize” their relationships. [FN152] In either case, the prohibition against same-sex marriage indicates the power that model gender roles have over society’s construction of proper and improper behavior. Institutionalized discrimination also helps to create an atmosphere that is conducive to anti-gay violence or “queer-bashing”: Due to the pervasive social disparagement of homosexuality and the continued legality of many forms of anti-gay discrimination, many gay and lesbian victims are reluctant to report acts of violence against them, perhaps out of fear that their sexual orientation will be exposed *1415 …. As a result of their reluctance to report crimes, and their distrust of the criminal justice system, gay men and lesbians are more attractive victims for perpetrators of bias crimes. [FN153] At least one study has suggested that gay men and lesbians are victimized more often than any other minority group. [FN154] According to the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project, there were 507 reported incidents of bias-motivated crimes in New York City in 1990, an increase of sixty-five percent from 1989. [FN155] Approximately seventy percent of these assaults resulted in injuries serious enough to require medical attention. [FN156] Such bias crimes are only one indication of the deep-seated animosities that many individuals, including jurors, feel toward gay men and lesbians. [FN157] This combination of biased laws, biased attitudes of judges and court personnel, and the overall presence of prejudice and discrimination by society, creates an almost insuperable barrier to same-sex couples seeking equal treatment. When placed against a backdrop of intimate violence, these negative attitudes are magnified even further. Fact-finders are asked to determine the defendant’s reasonableness in a situation often alien to them: the defendant is both battered and is gay or lesbian. As feminist theorists surmised in the late 1970s, a determination of reasonableness made from this uneducated vantage point is likely to be fraught with erroneous assumptions created by jurors to fill gaps in their understanding of the defendant’s experience.*1416 Here, too, someone is needed to translate the battered gay or lesbian defendant’s experiences to society’s representatives. III. Expert Testimony on Intimate Violence Since the late 1970s the “someone” to translate the experiences of the battered woman has been an expert in the field of battered woman’s syndrome. Although diverse trial strategies are advocated by feminist legal theorists, such as permitting an especially credible defendant to testify without additional aid, [FN158] the admission of expert testimony has become the focal issue in battered woman’s cases for most courts, [FN159] commentators [FN160] and the media. [FN161] Despite the overall acceptance of such testimony by courts, some commentators have recently begun to criticize the way the testimony is given, heard and used. In particular, the fact that most experts who give testimony rely on one theory, that of Dr. Lenore Walker, has given rise to much debate about whether testimony that is based on a monolithic theory ultimately hurts women’s self-defense cases as much as it helps them. Criticisms of the current use of expert testimony on battered woman’s syndrome in women’s self-defense cases are important to gay and lesbian defendants for two reasons. First, they are likely to encounter the same problems with certain aspects of the Walker model that heterosexual women have encountered. Battered defendants who fought back on occasion, who were equal economic partners in the relationship or who do not exhibit most of the “symptoms” of battered woman’s syndrome,*1417 may find the judge and jury unsympathetic. They may even be excluded from presenting evidence on the prior violence. [FN162] Second, gay men and lesbians may find that the traditionally feminist language and images that are an integral part of the history of battered woman’s syndrome will be used against them by attorneys, judges and jurors. Basic theories about intimate violence—that it results from the historic position of women as property in a patriarchal structure or that women are battered because they are smaller and weaker—do not translate to same-sex relationships. Yet without some form of expert testimony, gay men and lesbians will find themselves in the same position as battered women in the pre-1970s when firmly held beliefs about women and intimate violence made self-defense an inviable option. [FN163] A. Expert Testimony on Battered Woman’s Syndrome Feminist legal theorists developed the idea of using an expert on intimate violence “to educate the judge and jury about the common experiences of battered women, to explain the context in which an individual battered woman acted, so as to lend credibility and provide a context to her explanation of her actions.” [FN164] At the time the theories on women’s self-defense cases were developed, few researchers in the scientific community *1418 were working with battered women. As a result, much of the early research feminist legal theorists relied upon was the work of Dr. Lenore Walker. [FN165] Even today, despite the number of researchers who have published in the area of intimate violence and battered women, the great majority of experts who testify in these cases still rely on Walker’s model of battered woman’s syndrome. [FN166] Walker’s theory consists of two distinct parts: first, a cycle theory of violence that describes the typical course of violent behavior in a relationship; [FN167] second, the social learning theory of learned helplessness to explain why battered women often fail to leave abusive relationships. [FN168] The cycle consists of three phases: (1) the tension building phase, characterized by minor abusive *1419 incidents; [FN169] (2) the acute battering phase, characterized by the abuser’s severe uncontrollable explosion of violence; [FN170] and (3) the contrite, loving phase, characterized by the batterer’s apologetic and caring behavior. [FN171] It is during the third phase that a woman is most likely to leave her abuser. [FN172] However, it is also the point at which she is most vulnerable to his apologies and least able to plan an escape. [FN173] Walker applied the theory of learned helplessness in an effort to explain the often-asked question, “Why don’t battered women leave?” [FN174] At first, Walker theorized, a battered woman *1420 attempts to control the abusive incidents by identifying the cause of the attack and modifying her behavior accordingly. [FN175] If the behavior modification results in a desired outcome (the absence of violence), she attempts to replicate the behavior to recreate the outcome. [FN176] Abuse, however, tends to be both intermittent and unpredictable. [FN177] When a woman experiences violence despite her modified behavior, she begins to assume that she has no control over her environment. [FN178] This constant sense of lack of control causes the woman to lose self-esteem and to become docile and passive. [FN179] Even during periods of relative calm she is unable to act. The resultant psychological state is what is known as “battered woman’s syndrome.” [FN180] Expert testimony on battered woman’s syndrome has been ruled admissible by the majority of courts that have addressed the issue. [FN181] Even when accepted, however, many courts have *1421 limited the testimony of the expert or have limited the extent to which the jury can use the evidence in their deliberations. For example, in State v. Hennum [FN182] the court expressly limited the scope of the expert’s testimony to a description of the syndrome and its characteristics. It also disallowed any conclusory opinion by the expert on whether the defendant in fact suffered from battered woman’s syndrome. [FN183] Alternatively, in State v. Williams [FN184] the Missouri Court of Appeals specifically requested the expert’s opinion on whether the defendant suffered from battered woman’s syndrome, finding that without such testimony, the jury would be left without a guidepost. [FN185] *1422 B. Criticisms of the Admissibility and Use of Expert Testimony on Battered Woman’s Syndrome Despite its acceptance by the majority of courts, there are numerous criticisms of the admissibility and use of expert testimony on battered woman’s syndrome in self-defense cases. The primary objection of its admissibility from critics is that it may lead to an effective “license to kill” for battered women. [FN186] If jurors are permitted to hear evidence of the victim’s violence before the moment at issue, they may conclude that even though the woman’s act was not committed in self-defense, she should be acquitted because the victim deserved to die. [FN187] A second criticism of the testimony’s admissibility is that it may help create a new standard of reasonableness for women’s self-defense cases. [FN188] By permitting an expert to testify that objectively unreasonable behavior was reasonable for one individual, the standard of reasonableness becomes wholly subjectivized in violation of the general principles of self-defense. [FN189] Battered *1423 women, therefore, are judged under a more lenient standard than non-battered defendants who commit the same act under similar immediate circumstances. [FN190] Alternatively, scholars who do not wish to limit or exorcise expert testimony on intimate violence criticize the manner in which the testimony is given, heard and used. Much of what scholars criticize lies in the failure of some courts, attorneys and expert witnesses to understand the nature of the testimony for self-defense cases. [FN191] First, the very term “battered woman’s defense” to describe expert testimony on battered woman’s syndrome is misleading because it erroneously suggests that battered women are offering a completely new, separate or perhaps experimental defense. [FN192] Instead, women are pleading a traditional case of self-defense, using the expert testimony to help explain why a victim’s prior violence toward them makes a perception of imminent threat reasonable. A second misperception to which courts regularly fall prey is that the testimony is being offered to show an impaired *1424 mental state. For example, in State v. Hundley [FN193] the Kansas Supreme Court interpreted the expert’s testimony to mean that “[b]attered women are terror-stricken people whose mental state is distorted and bears a marked resemblance to that of a hostage or a prisoner of war…. They become disturbed persons from the torture.” [FN194] The purpose of the testimony, however, is to show why the defendant’s act was reasonable for any person with the same history of violence in her position. She is not arguing, as many courts believe, that she was incapable of interpreting her partner’s actions at the time of the threat correctly. In essence, the court is reverting to a stereotype that women who kill must be crazy. Third, courts have also contributed to the confusion by creating a new standard of reasonableness: the reasonable battered woman. In State v. Williams [FN195] the court stated that “the evidence is to be weighed by the jury in light of how the reasonable battered woman would have perceived and reacted in view of the prolonged history of abuse.” [FN196] Again, the court’s use of this different standard for battered women’s cases reinforces the misperception that battered women do not react reasonably to threats of violence. A man in the battered woman’s situation, the court implies, would not react similarly. [FN197] *1425 C. Battered Woman’s Syndrome and the Gay or Lesbian Defendant The primary problem with battered woman’s syndrome expert testimony for all defendants is that it often enforces the very stereotypes of women that it seeks to dispel. [FN198] Courts, mimicking the experts’ testimony, continue to describe battered women as helpless, passive and incapacitated victims, stereotypical attributes that have plagued women for centuries. [FN199] In light of judicial use of battered woman’s syndrome, the success of Walker’s theory rests more on its emphasis of the stereotypical helplessness of women than on its illumination of the dynamics of intimate violence. [FN200] Gay and lesbian defendants, already the victims of stereotypes that portray them as gender-confused, [FN201] will be forced to *1426 defend not only their action, but their ability to fit within the stereotyped female gender-role. Experts who explain intimate violence in the terms used for battered woman’s syndrome will encourage the jury to try to fit the same-sex relationship into the mold of a heterosexual relationship. [FN202] This can lead to increased stereotyping and confusion, as the expert and the jury will be forced to ask themselves who played the role of the man and who played the role of the woman. [FN203] The chance that either *1427 the defendant or the batterer/victim will fit into stereotypical gender roles is minimal. [FN204] Furthermore, the harsh reality is that the popular image of the battered woman as small, meek and cowering will not translate to a defendant as large and strong as his or her partner. Although the gay or lesbian defendant may not be equal in size and strength to the abusive partner, generally the discrepancy between the two will not be as extreme as the discrepancy between men and women. This discrepancy between men and women has been, at least in part, the basis courts have used to liberalize the proportional force rule and to subjectivize the standard for the defendant’s belief of imminent danger. [FN205] Judges and jurors will have great difficulty understanding the dynamics of intimate violence when unable to view the defendant as the weaker, helpless victim described in Walker’s model. [FN206] The description of the battered person as a helpless, passive victim also does not translate to defendants who on prior occasions fought back or attempted to flee. Despite the recognition from experts on heterosexual intimate violence that battered women engage in defensive actions (mutual battering), [FN207] this aspect of intimate violence is antithetical to Walker’s model of the passive victim. While it is not clear whether battered gay or lesbian victims engage in more mutual battering than heterosexual *1428 women, [FN208] the fact that the partners are of the same gender and are likely to be of relatively the same size may suggest to the fact-finder that the defendant did fight back or at least had the capacity to fight back. If the defendant did engage in mutual battering or any other non-passive behavior, as Annette Green did, the prosecution will be able to argue that the defendant is not a “battered woman” because he or she does not fit the model. In State v. Anaya [FN209] the expert recited the Walker model when she testified that “battered wives typically stay with their men out of economic dependency, and that they ‘most frequently … react with passivity’ to the violence of their mates.” [FN210] In this case, however, the defendant’s boyfriend was unemployed throughout the time the couple lived together and the defendant had stabbed the victim on an earlier occasion. [FN211] The prosecution was permitted to use the expert’s characterization of battered woman’s syndrome to refute the “battered wife defense.” [FN212] Finally, both experts and courts have contributed to the creation of a new stereotype, the “good battered woman,” that gay and lesbian defendants will have difficulty overcoming. Part of the problem arises from the characterization of the effects of intimate violence as a “syndrome.” [FN213] The word appears to connote an illness for which there are definitive symptoms subject to accurate diagnosis. “Expert testimony on the ‘battered woman syndrome’ … although intended to address damaging myths and misconcreetions, also contributes in a subtle way to an image of maladjustment or pathology. Just the use of the term ‘syndrome’ connotes impairment to most people, including *1429 judges and jurors.” [FN214] A battered gay man or lesbian who does not exhibit all or some of the “symptoms” (e.g., passivity, economic or emotional dependence, lack of education or total isolation from family or friends) [FN215] will be categorized as a “bad battered woman” or not a battered woman at all. [FN216] Thus, the focus of the cases tends to be on whether the defendant is entitled to call himself or herself a “battered woman,” not whether the defendant’s action was reasonable or justified. [FN217] *1430 Gay and lesbian defendants who try to use the battered woman’s syndrome testimony are in for a double whammy. First, the theory is already flawed as it applies to heterosexual women. Second, the theory’s procrustean bed may break under the tension of applying it to gay and lesbian relationships. In essence, the theory relies on gender stereotypes for its impact. Stereotypes, such as women’s socialized passivity, their economic dependence and their lesser size, strength and fighting ability, are central to the explanation of why women are abused by men and why they have difficulty leaving or fighting back. Once battered woman’s syndrome expert testimony is drained of these gendered notions, it offers little to no explanation of why intimate violence occurs in same-sex relationships or why battered gay men and lesbians have difficulty in separating themselves from the relationship. D. Toward a More Gender-Neutral Theory of Intimate Violence for Gay and Lesbian Defendants To avoid these problems, an expert witness in a battered gay man’s or lesbian’s self-defense case must present a theory of intimate violence that does not depend upon the gender of the batterer and victim. Since most of the current research on intimate violence is based on heterosexual women’s experiences, however, there are no “genderless” theories of adult intimate violence available. Thus any expert on intimate violence must depend on theories that have been developed for heterosexual women. This problem is not insurmountable. At least two current theorists, Dr. Angela Browne and Dr. Julie Blackman, have authored studies on intimate violence that avoid many of the pitfalls associated with Walker’s model. [FN218] In particular, neither *1431 theorist’s work depends on portraying the battered person as helpless or passive. Both characterize the battered woman’s behavior in avoiding the violence and coping in other areas of her life as active. [FN219] Since battered women have encountered such difficulty when experts used Walker’s theory of learned helplessness to explain why the women failed to leave, this difference is significant. Browne’s study is particularly compelling because its focus is specifically on battered women who killed, rather than on battered women generally. When the two groups were compared, Browne found that there were no significant differences between the backgrounds of the women (i.e., education, employment status, violence in childhood), [FN220] but there were very significant differences in the behavior of the batterer and in the frequency and severity of their violence against their spouses. [FN221] By explaining *1432 these differences to a jury, the expert can lay the groundwork for the jury’s interpretation of the defendant’s act as reasonable: [A] knowledge of the history of the prior violence and the specific context within which the incident occurred is essential for understanding the woman’s perceptions at the time of the homicide…. [T]he life of a battered woman is “replete with prior provocation, continuing apprehension, and the constant threat of impending danger.” … As we learn more about battered women … those who kill … seem to be reacting to the level of violence perpetrated against them. [FN222] To explain why some battered women fail to leave the relationship, Browne looks at the battered woman’s dim view of her alternatives. Here, she compares battered women with other victims of trauma. Like victims of disasters and wars, battered women focus on self-protection and survival during the impact phase. [FN223] [B]attered women’s affective, cognitive, and behavioral responses are likely to become distorted by their intense focus on survival. They may have developed a whole range of responses such as controlling their breathing or not crying out in pain, in an effort to mitigate the severity of the abuse during violent episodes, but have not developed any plans for escaping the abusive situations. [FN224] They later “may be extremely suggestible or dependent and, during the period that follows, may minimize the damage or personal loss. This is often followed by a ‘euphoric’ stage, marked by unrealistic expectations about recovery.” [FN225] Browne finds even a closer parallel between battered women and prisoners of war: “Fight or flight” responses are inhibited by a perception of the aggressor’s power to inflict damage or death, and depression often results, based on the perceived hopelessness of the situation. The victims’ perceptions of their alternatives become increasingly limited the longer they remain in the situation, and those alternatives that do exist often seem to pose too great a threat to survival. [FN226] Belief that safe alternatives exist is still more unlikely for gay *1433 men and lesbians who in fact have even fewer alternatives than heterosexual battered women. [FN227] The victim’s behavior and perceptions must be viewed in light of both factors: the level of violence perpetrated against them and their diminished ability to perceive escape opportunities. While the victim may initially remain with the batterer out of love or a sense of commitment or responsibility to the batterer or children, the victim’s reasons for remaining change over the course of the relationship. Browne noted that as the severity and frequency of abuse increases, three additional factors have a major impact on the women’s decision to stay with violent partners: (1) practical problems in effecting a separation [like the lack of access to shelters], (2) the
  4. You are awesome! Where have you been all of my life!!! Keep up the good work exposing all the hypocrisy, stupidity!!

  5. I’ve been very impressed by the insight and intelligence of your videos and your viewpoint. In one video you state that people who have been victimized want to know “why”? Although this is both obvious and true, do you have a good citation for this?
    Best,
    Scott Albers
    scott_albers@msn.com

  6. Hi Diana,

    What are your feelings on porn ? Straight, gay, whatever. I’m a hetero male who enjoys it from time to time. I know it is a big feminist red flag.
    Thanks,

    Tony

  7. hey–what the fuck are you up to? full disclosure, working with SHUN (shunmag.com) “the journal of contemporary shame culture”, but, shux, what ARE you destroying lately? SHUN wants to know! holler at us at your convenience.

  8. I have never really spent time studying Feminism even though I have many former Third Wave Feminist friends ( some friend zoned, some not). Last week I started reading posts by Karen Straughan. MGTOW videos on Youtube and of course your witty Youtube VLOGs. I have a very long story as an alpha male and former Mangina and have spent hundreds of hours trying to solve the issue of Third wave Feminism on my own. At first, I thought that MGTOW was only for Ex alpha males who lost their battles with feminism and changed their life goals to not trust women or marriage. I have spent three days watching videos and reading comments about this topic and wish this information were available to me when I had to research, synthesize and make my own way with no help from anyone!! I have reached whatever the MGTOW stage is that seems to be the “top”. Doing what I did was extremely difficult, emotionally draining, and I was fought by everyone from the culture generally and the family justice legal system set up to help only feminists and the family law attorneys and judges in cahoots with them. I have developed a PROCEDURE for my situation that I have not seen or heard of yet. It was a lonely, expensive and scary voyage that took me 14 years to reach my goals. From managing a staff of close to three hundred to living on the street. You can not be sued IF YOU ARE “legally broke and have no assets or job.” ( Most lawyers will laugh at a wife who tries to collect from a homeless man) . I have lived in my car, begged for food and have been “out of the system” enough times to know what works and what does not. I can offer ideas, suggestions and opinions to anyone who asks. I have reached a position where I have intellectual, emotional and monetary wealth. The water is fine, come on in for a swim. It took lots of effort, but today I have TRUE freedom. I learned another lesson other than just avoiding the Third wave gang of bitches. There is also a freedom from not being on the worker treadmill for others, not just selfish women. I have not worked in a real so-called job for at least 7 years now and do not miss punching a time clock or signing a time card. I no longer have to kiss butt to a Feminazi in HR, and no longer have to be politically correct. I am now my own boss. My freedom comes from never having to be afraid to give my REAL opinion—about anything. Since I have no “taxable” income I no longer have to worry about “work” organizations. I can never be “fired”. Today I live on my own ranch with a nice house and grow most of my own produce. I have very low utility bills since I am also “off the grid” with PV solar and have my own well. What about female companionship– I friend zone several “ladies” and they can look but not touch. My other ladies live and work in Nevada brothels a short drive away. You get what you pay for in a bordello as well as life. Feel free to contact me via email for some ideas to make your journey to MGTOW less miserable, time consuming and less costly.
    “Arm candy” is cheap when you no longer have to buy nice clothes, dinners, entertainment and nice cars and say the “right things” . Been there, done that. It was not economically advantageous. I very bad deal for most all men. MY “retirement” was funded 100% by me. I am now teaching other men who are envious of my single lifestyle. Yes I am selfish, but the dishonesty, selfishness and plotting of FemiNazi women started this game. So far in my life CHECK MATE ! I only had Pawns on the board and won.

  9. Hey Diana,
    I watched your video where you talked about the difference between being female and being a woman and you identified yourself as a female, but not a woman. I wanted to share my thoughts with you on that. I happen to think that each of us rise or fall along with our respective social groups, regardless of what we do to distance or differentiate ourselves from them. We are eternally viewed by the rest of the society as inextricably belonging to these social groups and all of our behaviors and actions will be interpreted though the lens of stereotypes commonly attributed to our groups. So no matter what you say or do to differentiate yourself from other women, you will still be equally affected by the negative stereotypes associated with women, many of which you yourself promulgate. Your outrage and anger will always be seen as “female hysteria”, no matter how justified or reasonable it is. If you ever say or do something which someone else considers stupid, this will be seen as that typical “female stupidity”. In promulgating negative stereotypes of women you are hurting yourself as much as rest of womankind. You will not be shielded from these effects by refusing to call yourself a woman.

  10. Hi Diana,
    I have also contacted you at your YouTube, but I worry it may get burried under other comments.
    I very much wish to start a fund to help Jian Ghomeshi pay his legal bills, and potentially to help other men falsely accused of similar crimes.
    I am relatively insolvent, but have at least a couple hundred dollars to give. Perhaps we could work together to amass more people to contribute and spread the word.
    What do you think?

  11. I thought the last line of defense for men was the Bible or the Quran. Desperately, men put in these books things like “women are inferior” or “Eve is the first sinner” etc. These never holds, but men still hope, because without these books they would be defenseless.

  12. Diana,
    Just watched a couple of your youtube videos. O. M. G!!!!!! I AM IN LOVE!!!!!! You have character of lionhearted royalty. You are nobility. I would have to tell you the rest privately…THAT’S how enamored I am with someone like yourself. Trying to keep my composure here…OK. “Keep up the good work.” Naw. Doesn’t do justice to my feelings. “Thanks so very much for doing what you do.” No. Still too sterile. “I wish I could meet you in person.” Yeah, but now you think I’m a wierdo even though I am a normal person. I will gladly share the rest of this with you if you are curious, or would just like more affirmation. I have got a whole lot of affirmation for you. Please understand I grew up with nothing but feminist hostility or merciless manipulation. Imagine how I feel about a fair minded person such as yourself. Magic. I’ve got more, too!

  13. Hello, Diana,

    I was wondering if you’d be able to make some kind of commentary/video on the notion of the “not all Feminists are like this” idea – whereby any criticism of Feminism and its cultural destruction is rebutted by, “Well, there’s different kinds of Feminism, and I’m not one of those kinds.” I certainly need to know more about this. Is Radical Feminism the logical conclusion of a previous Feminisms, or are there genuinely harmful and unharmful kinds? Searching the internet doesn’t help me much, and it’s not as though resources on truth are commonplace. I’m just looking for an honest take on what Feminism has positively offered to society (if anything), and if there is any real separation between past Feminism and present Feminism, or present Feminisms, and how to meaningfully weave through all of this.

    Also, Diana – thank you so much for your videos. While I’m not a big fan of your…vulgarity, and for me it makes it very difficult to listen to you (honest feedback), everything else I appreciate very, very, much, and it’s helping me realize how pounded into the ground I’ve been and others have been around me, and what level of work it will take to get out of this hole.

    God bless,
    -James Hoffman

  14. Just found your videos.

    As a result I am starting to understand my wife of 30 years, who seems to have gone crazy of late How can ask you some questions?

  15. So you have zero credentials and your only qualification is that you have a vagina? Ok. The apparent profile of your fanclub is easily explained. Ignorant begets ignorant. Or maybe I am wrong and you are super clever- after all you know how us gals manipulate everything cuz we’re so devious. In between doing 2/3 of the worlds work, raising kids, taking care of feeble males, and cleaning we have to fill our time somehow!

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