Elizabeth Sheehy uses trial transcripts and a case study approach to tell the stories of eleven women, ten of whom killed their partners. She looks at the barriers women face to "just leaving," the various ways in which self-defence was argued in these cases, and which form of expert testimony was used to frame women's experience of battering. Drawing upon a rich expanse of research from many disciplines, she highlights the limitations of the law of self-defence and the costs to women undergoing a murder trial. In a final chapter, she proposes numerous reforms.
In Canada, a woman is killed every six days by her male partner, and about twelve women per year kill their male partners. By illuminating the cases of eleven women, this book highlights the barriers to leaving violent men and the practical and legal dilemmas that face battered women on trial for murder.