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Victims - Victims Of Rape

medical offense syndrome

The professional literature came to label the consequences of being a rape victim in medical terms, as rape trauma syndrome. Diagnosis of such a condition—later extended to other forms of victimization and formalized in medical annals as post-traumatic stress disorder , or PTSD—would come to play a significant role in some court cases. Defense attorneys might argue, for instance, that a person suffering from such a syndrome was no longer able to think rationally and therefore should not be held fully, if at all, responsible for, say, the murder or maiming of the perpetrator, even if the retaliatory act came a considerable time after the original offense. A severely battered woman would stand a decent chance of avoiding charges or being declared not guilty even though she had killed her husband while he was asleep and many hours after she had been mercilessly beaten, as she often was. Opponents of such outcomes complained that however abhorrent, wife-battering is not a death penalty offense.

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