Women as serial killers

Posted on March 6, 2015

Photo: flickr

"They [the children] bothered me, so I decided to kill them."
"I like to attend funerals. I'm happy when someone is dying."
"That is my ambition, to have killed more people – more helpless people – than any man or woman who has ever lived."
These are thoughts from several psychopathological female killers.

There is a common cultural assumption that women are not likely to be serial killers, because they are “mild”, “not violent”, etc. Serial killers are defined as murderers of three or more victims, spaced out with at least a week between killings.

However, Marissa Harrison and her colleagues, pointed out that one in six serial killers are female. Their crimes tend to be unnoticed by others for a longer period than men as culture seems to deny women’s proclivity for aggression and violence.

These women are often rated above average in physical attractiveness which may have helped them to gained trust from their victims. Thus, they often use the technique of poisoning, ad had their hand at those who knew and likely to trust them.

In the motives perspective, these women serial killers are often categorised as “hedonistic”, which means to kill for monetary gains, lust or excitement. They could also lie under “power-seeking’ motives, which is showed by killing people in one’s care.

Harrison and her team has also spotted several patterns in their data, most of these women serial killers were physically or sexually abused previously, had drug or alcohol problems or had mental illness diagnosis previously.

These helps to bring our attention to serial killers, allowing better interventions to occur, so that vulnerable individuals will not result in mass killing, or down the dark path.


Category(s):Aggression & Violence

Source material from British Psychological Society


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