skip navigation

PUBLICATIONS

Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.

 

NCJ Number: 159261 Find in a Library
Title: Murderous Mothers and the Medea Myth -- A Commentary on Medea: Perspectives on a Multicide
Journal: Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences  Volume:27  Issue:1  Dated:(January-June 1995)  Pages:6-12
Author(s): A Wilczynski
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 7
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: In 1990, a woman in Sydney, Australia, slit the throats of her sister-in-law and two daughters who were aged 8 and 9 years; she admitted to planning the murders beforehand, and her primary motivation appeared to be to retaliate against her husband whom she suspected of having an affair with the sister-in-law.
Abstract: The case and other similar cases are analyzed in terms of "retaliating filicide," where anger toward another person is displaced onto a child. In both the literature and sample cases, the person being retaliated against in filicide is usually the perpetrator's partner, whether married or de facto. In some cases, resentment toward the partner is combined with resentment toward another person. Some authors also cite instances where anger toward a significant family member from the offender's childhood, such as a parent, has apparently been displaced onto the child. Because the source of anger in retaliating filicides is invariably the offender's sexual partner, these killings have also been described as spouse revenge, or the "Medea Complex." Men and women tend to kill their children for very different reasons. Men's motives are usually associated with retaliation, discipline, or rejection by the victim. Women tend to kill because the child is unwanted and in response to a long period of physical and psychological abuse. The author notes that, apart from a history of domestic violence, it is relatively rare for women to kill their children. 28 endnotes
Main Term(s): Child victims
Index Term(s): Abused children; Australia; Child abuse; Child fatalities; Domestic assault; Family homicide; Female murderers; Female offenders; Foreign offenders; Male female offender comparisons; Male offenders; Marital murder; Marital problems; Rights of AIDS patients; Victims in foreign countries; Violent men; Violent women
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=159261

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.