Criminal Minds Wiki

Battered Woman Syndrome is a co-dependent personality disorder caused by repeated events of physical spousal abuse. Legally, the disorder is entitled battered person abuse, as the condition may be suffered by any individual engaged in an abusive relationship or is being abused by other people.


A person suffering from this disorder may feel that the abuse is their fault. They may rationalize their abuser's behavior with thoughts such as, "If I were only a better housekeeper, then they wouldn't beat me." The sufferer may possess an extremely low sense of self-esteem, and may fail to leave the abusive situation; believing that the abuse will eventually stop. Such persons usually refuse to press criminal charges against their abuser, and refuse all offers of help, often becoming aggressive or abusive to others who attempt to offer assistance. Often sufferers will even seek out their very abuser for comfort shortly after an incident of abuse, and eventually are often killed in a state of uncontrolled rage by the abuser.

On Criminal Minds[]

Audrey Henson, who appeared in the episode "The Crossing", was a sufferer of BWS, and used it as a legal defense in her trial for the murder of her husband.

Further Reading[]