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Unpublished Paper
An Inconvenient Truth: Recognizing Andrea Yates Was A Victim of Spousal Abuse: She Killed Her Children To Save Her Life
ExpressO (2008)
  • Shelby A.D. Moore, South Texas College of Law
Abstract
The definition of domestic violence is broad and includes physical as well as psychological and sexual abuse. However, the legal system gives considerably less attention to these latter forms of abuse. One reason for the relative neglect in the area is the assumption that physical abuse causes more harm than do psychological and sexual abuse. In reality these forms of abuse may have a far greater impact on their victims. Apart from physical abuse, greater attention must be given to those who suffer on-going psychological and sexual abuse at the hand of a spouse or intimate partner. We must consider the case of Andrea Yates, tried twice for drowning her five children. Many continue to believe she killed them due to severe mental illness. There is, however, evidence of another motive. Rusty Yates psychologically and sexually abused her throughout their marriage. The oppression she experienced from these violations drove her to kill her children in order to escape. Rusty Yates isolated, controlled, and silenced Andrea Yates. By placing his needs above hers, he was willing to risk Ms. Yates’ suffering severe psychological injury. He was also willing to risk the very lives of his children. He oppressed her, rendering her invisible. That invisibility is further compounded by the failure of the legal system to recognize that women who suffer from psychological and sexual abuse will continue to injure or kill their children in order to escape.
Disciplines
Publication Date
October 1, 2008
Citation Information
Shelby A.D. Moore. "An Inconvenient Truth: Recognizing Andrea Yates Was A Victim of Spousal Abuse: She Killed Her Children To Save Her Life" ExpressO (2008)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/shelby_moore/1/