Often, I write my posts while tuning in to Dominick Dunne or Snapped on television, where the message that Violence is Never OK is reinforced.
I worked with battered women in the ’90s as an advocate, not too long after I myself was a battered woman. It was an exciting time of change. Shelters for domestic violence victims had popped up everywhere, and laws like the Violence Against Women Act were enacted to address what was then one of the leading cause of injury to women in the United States
A funny thing happened when women were made safer. Men and children were safer, too. The need for the self-defense claim of Battered Women’s Syndrome by psychologist Lenore Walker decreased sharply.
But last week, a jury acquitted Lisa Donlon, an Alaskan woman who shot her husband six times, killing him while he slept peacefully.
What were the factors that led to the acquittal for murdering her husband Jason?
* The couple lived in a remote part of Alaska where they were isolated from accessing support.
Lisa had been held hostage in a shed by her husband. Had she wanted to go to a shelter or have law enforcement respond lickety-split, or had her husband wanted to attend a batterer’s rehabilitative program, their remote location would have been an impediment.
* There was a documented history of the husband’s violence against his wife that occurred over years, evidenced by a restraining order, some pictures a medical doctor took of her injuries, and witnessed by one or more of their children.
* The jury was likely schooled on domestic violence dynamics.
Do you know someone impacted by domestic violence?
Tell them to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE(7233)
We’re all safer when the needed help is available.