#HimOrMe: Trial begins for mother of two accused of killing abuser
- Lee-Anne Bruce
CALS is set to appear in the Palmridge Magistrates Court to defend a woman accused of killing her abusive partner during an incident of domestic violence
From 11 – 13 March, CALS is set to appear in the Palmridge Magistrates Court to defend a mother of two who has been accused of killing her abusive partner during an incident of domestic violence. CALS will be bringing expert evidence to give the court an understanding of the patterns of abuse that occur both in our country and in our client’s life.
Domestic violence is recognised as a widespread and life-threatening problem globally, and one that particularly affects women and children. Though data can be difficult to gather because of the nature of domestic violence occurring in private spaces and the challenges survivors face in reporting abuse, it is thought that up to 50% of women will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetimes in our country. And this kind of violence is expected to intensify over time: South Africa has one of the highest rates of femicide in the world.
“The almost inevitable culmination of escalating domestic violence is that someone will die, most often women,” says Sheena Swemmer, head of the Gender Justice programme at CALS. “There are only a few cases where women have acted to protect themselves or their children and instead killed abusive partners. Our courts have not yet recognised this as a defence or properly engaged with the psychological aspects of domestic violence.”
On 11 March, the trial of a woman accused of killing her abusive partner begins in the Palmridge Magistrates Court. Prior to his death, she had spent a year facing beatings from him so severe that she suffered a miscarriage. CALS will be acting in her defence. Despite the fact that she poses no threat or flight risk, our client has been denied bail and instead forced to await trial in prison away from her children for more than a year.
This is just one in a series of cases we intend to use to challenge how women are treated in the criminal justice system.
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