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Hi, I'm researching information on spousal abuse for a debate in law class and I was wondering if you had any information and articles that deals with the subject of a wife being physically abused by her husband and whether or not she has the right to murder him as a result. Thank you so much, Alex

There have been cases where women have been "freed" on a self-defense argument--i.e. their spouses gave them no other option. However, these are few and far between. And these cases get very unclear at a certain point---for instance, did she provoke him to beat her, then she beat him back, then he beat more/harder, then she feared for her life and killed him. I don't mean to sound unsympathetic, in fact, I think it's the opposite.

I think that abuse of any kind has such a paralyzing effect on our lives that we can't remember the moment we stopped thinking rationally--and similarly, did our measurement of rational change? There is a great book by Ann Jones called Women Who Kill. She also co-authored When Love Goes Wrong: What to Do When You Can't Do Anything Right. Both of these books should help you with your work. Also, there is an organization called the National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women (Tel: (215) 351-0010; Fax: (215) 351-0779; Hotline: 800 903-0111 ext. 3). That should be enough information to help you with your report. Good luck.


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