This Article examines the challenges for victims of domestic violence appearing in court when the victim presents differently than the paradigmatic domestic violence victim. In particular, this Article analyzes the strategic dilemma of presenting a victim who refuses to admit (or cannot access or does not experience) fear of the batterer, and the victim who feels anger towards her assailant.
This Article addresses possible policy and tactical responses to this challenge. Suggesting legislative changes that eliminate requirements that victims prove subjective fear of a battering partner, the Article further analyzes the use of expert witnesses to assist jurors and judges in understanding atypical victim behavior and testimony.
GW Paper Series
GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2012-131, GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2012-131
Laurie S. Kohn, Barriers to Reliable Credibility Assessments: Domestic Violence Victim-Witnesses, 11 AM. U. J. GENDER SOC. POL’Y & L. 733 (2003)