Dr. Frances Chapman will be speaking today at lunch on the topic of Brainwashing and the Battered Woman: Involuntary Servitude and Intimate Relationships.
In North America, many still believe that the defense of brainwashing is simply an excuse to avoid responsibility for one’s personal actions. This presentation seeks to understand the North American use of this concept by the legal system by making comparisons to the concept in the United States and Italy. First, a general outline of the concept will be established by looking at a possible defence of brainwashing and the batteredwoman. Secondly, an overview of the Italian offence of “plagio” will be presented, and thirdly a comparison will be made to the American concept of “involuntary servitude.” Fourthly the historic case of Kozminski will be examined and contrasted with the modern case of Marcus. The talk will finish with a proposal for a North American offense of brainwashing and a call for more study into this very misunderstood area of the law. All of these concepts involve taking away the exercise of free will, and a consistent approach needs to be adopted that recognizes that psychological coercion may be as real as being physically caged.