Killing other people is an atrocious act of violence in general. However, there are certain differences between female and male serial killers. Popular mythology states that there are very seldom cases of women serial killers, but it is actually not true while around 15% of murderers are females (Bonn). Therefore, the objective of the following paper is to discuss what factors contribute to women’s psychology and cognitive perceptions that provoke them to kill.
Generally speaking, there exist certain common reasons why people tend to become serial killers. First is the Anomie theory, according to which serial killers have been affected during their childhood by the lack of proper family bonding. The second theory is known as biological; it claims that there are certain brain anomalies that change the normal behavior of the individual. Another theory was developed in 1996 and is known as Diathesis-Stress model, which is about the predisposition of serial killers to think about killing, and due to the existence of external stressors, they usually start acting like that.
Nevertheless, female serial killers are divided into separate categories: Black Widows (women who kill for life insurance and monetary gain); Angels of Death (nurses and doctors, who kill their patients – need for power); Sexual Predators (driven by sexual fantasies); Revenge Killers (found among repeat offenders); Team Killers (coercion by the partner, who is usually male); Profit Women (hit women) (Victims Of Violence).
The notions regarding the information that serial killers murder for sexual reasons, and their victims are only unknown individuals is no longer valid as there are many other contributing factors to that such as power, domination, control and others. Researchers have proven that women tend to kill people they know, for example, relatives, and close acquaintances. Nevertheless, there is evidence provided by the FBI study that both female and male serial killers have something to do with the unstable family surroundings when they were children because it was the time when a family bonding did not occur on the right level. The contributing factor was that around hall of future serial killers have had their fathers left them by the age of twelve. In female serial killers, the contributing factor was that they were adopted by nonrelatives and/or raised in non-traditional homes by relatives or non-relatives. The official data states that 20% of all studied serial killers came from traditional families with two spouses living together until the killers were 18.
The way of life the parents had has also affected the psychology of female serial killers, as the data showed that around 70% of female murderers came from families that had a history of severe drug or alcohol abuse. Nevertheless, the parents who had a criminal history or were diagnosed with psychological disorders influenced the behavior of only 14% of female serial killers (Vronsky 33).
The interesting fact is that all 100% of studies female serial killers have reported to be the victims of the sexual, psychological and physical abuse when they were children and 70% when they were adults. Within the mentioned scope, more than a half were assaulted by non-relatives, and around 30% had relatives among those who abused them. Approximately 25% have stated that they have witnessed sexual abuse within their family (Vronsky 33).
In addition to that, such factor as animal cruelty and inappropriate fantasies have also contributed to the psychological condition of the future female serial killers, who have reported spending their childhood and adolescence in isolation and with limited social contacts (Vronsky 34). Fantasy life has a direct correlation to the individual’s behavior because if there are multiple stressors within the life of a person during the childhood, the ideas about the world might be negative, and total isolation is additional negatively contributing factor.
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Once the fantasy is connected to something sexual and results in orgasms, it becomes an integral part of individual’s sub-conscious behavior. It has been discovered that sexual fantasies that were related to homicide within the childhood of female serial killers have contributed to further solitude and the eventual spree of killings in the future. This means that the nature of killings of female murderers is no delusional and that they are aware of what they are doing. According to one person, who was investigated by FBI, “Nobody bothered to find out what my problem was, and nobody knew about the fantasy world” (Vronsky 37). In addition to that, the female serial killers have reported masturbating during the fantasies that depicted killings, and they have been depressed and isolated once they killed someone after a while, so they came back to their fantasias and eventually turned back to further murders.
Besides, there have been certain group of women among serial killers who have been rather meticulous while conducting the crime and have experienced an outburst of self-esteem rise once the murder went flawless and they were not caught, which was an additional stimulus for further killings.
It is actually can be emphasized that female killers tend to act like that due to traumatic events in their childhood. However, there is certain controversy as not every kid that was abused tends to have similar behavior in the future. Hence, the traumatic events in the childhood and person’s personal perception of the world that come through the fantasies are the major reasons why women have a tendency to killing sprees (Vronsky 37).
Women have the desire to kill based on psychological condition. Myers, Gooch, and Meloy, who studied the case of Wuornos, the female serial killer Aileen in Florida, state that:
Her articulated motivation was robbery and elimination of the witness/victim. The confluence of early childhood attachment disruptions, severe psychopathy, other personality disorder pathology, and a trauma genic abuse history likely contributed to her having serially murdered seven victims. (652)
According to the authors of the article, there has been not much correlation between the sex and murder.
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