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Unpublished Paper
AN ACT OF RESISTENCE: RECONCEPTUALIZING ANDREA YATES' KILLING OF HER CHILDREN
ExpressO (2009)
  • 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. The legal system, however, gives considerably less attention to these latter forms of abuse. One reason for the relative neglect of these types of domestic abuse 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 give greater consideration to the case of Andrea Yates, twice tried for drowning her five children. Many continue to believe she killed them due to severe mental illness. There is, however, evidence of another motive: She killed them as an act of resistance and to escape the psychological and sexual abuse to which she had been subjected at the hands of Rusty Yates throughout their marriage. The oppression she experienced from this violence drove her to kill her children to end the abuse and to strike at a system that permitted Rusty Yates to isolate, control, and silence her and render her invisible. By placing his desires above Andrea’s well-being, he was willing to impose severe psychological injury upon Andrea. More critically, he willingly risked the very lives of his children. The invisibility Rusty caused is further compounded by the failure of the legal system to recognize that women who are victimized psychologically and sexually are abused. They will continue to place their children at risk, even killing them, as an act of resistance to escape the abuse. Such behavior is deviant and, at its core, frightening. Yet it is an argument we must be willing to consider. Otherwise we continue to leave abused women without hope, without a remedy, and without an alternative means of escape.
Keywords
  • AN ACT OF RESISTENCE: RECONCEPTUALIZING ANDREA YATES' KILLING OF HER CHILDREN
Disciplines
Publication Date
August 25, 2009
Citation Information
Shelby A.D. Moore. "AN ACT OF RESISTENCE: RECONCEPTUALIZING ANDREA YATES' KILLING OF HER CHILDREN" ExpressO (2009)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/shelby_moore/4/