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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
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