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Females & Crime Introduction. Feminist criminology challenged the traditionally masculine view by pointing out two important factors: 1. female crime.

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Presentation on theme: "Females & Crime Introduction. Feminist criminology challenged the traditionally masculine view by pointing out two important factors: 1. female crime."— Presentation transcript:

1 Females & Crime Introduction

2 Feminist criminology challenged the traditionally masculine view by pointing out two important factors: 1. female crime is virtually ignored/overlooked 2. female victimization is ignored, minimized, or trivialized

3 For the most part, females who are in the criminal justice system are ordinary individuals who have engaged in sporadic/unskilled crimes Over 60% of incarcerated women report being physically or sexually assaulted at some point in their lives Approximately 1/3 of those report that they were assaulted by a family member, relative, or intimate acquaintance

4 1/5 female inmates spent time in foster care Over 50% grew up in homes without both parents present 34% of the parents who were present abused alcohol and/or drugs

5 Selected Topics 1.Munchausen Syndrome 2.Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy 3.Female Serial Killers

6 Munchausen Syndrome intentionally exaggerated, feigned, simulated, aggravated, or self-induced an illness or injury for the primary purpose of attention and nurturing Factitious disorder in the DSM-IV-TR

7 Factitious Disorder (1)intentional production or feigning of physical or psychological signs or symptoms, (2) motivation for the behaviour is to assume the sick role, and (3) absence of external incentives for the behaviour (e.g., economic gain, avoiding legal responsibility, improving physical well-being, as in malingering)

8 Factitious Disorder (1)factitious disorder with predominantly psychological signs and symptoms, (2) factitious disorder with predominantly physical signs and symptoms, and (3) factitious disorder with combined psychological and physical signs and symptoms

9 Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy intentional production or feigning of physical or psychological signs or symptoms in another person motivation is to assume the sick role by proxy incentives for the behaviours (such as economic gain) are absent behaviour is not better accounted for by another mental disorder

10 Prevalence United States: –Fever: 9.3% had factitious disorder –Kidney stones: 2.6% was found to be nonphysiologic and probably fraudulent International –Consultation-liaison service: 0.8% (10 of 1288) had factitious disorder (Toronto) –Infants with serious illnesses: 1.5% were cases of factitious disorder by proxy (Australia) –Physicians surveyed estimate: 1.3% (Germany)

11 Sex Persons with factitious disorder are usually female (95%) and employed in medical fields such as nursing or medical technology Working in the medical field provides knowledge of how disease might be produced artificially and provides access to equipment (e.g., syringes, chemicals) with which to do so Persons with chronic factitious disorder (i.e., Munchausen syndrome) tend to be unmarried men who are estranged from their families Perpetrators of factitious disorder by proxy are typically mothers who induce illness in their young children; however, sometimes fathers or others are responsible

12 Age Persons with factitious disorder tend to be women aged years Persons with chronic factitious disorder (i.e., Munchausen syndrome) tend to be middle-aged men Factitious disorder has been noted in the paediatric population

13 Etiology The causes are not well defined One psychodynamic explanation: background of neglect or abandonment, are attempting to re-enact unconscious and unresolved early issues with parents Other possible explanations: –Underlying masochistic tendencies –A need to be the center of attention and to feel important –A need to assume a dependent status and receive nurturance –A need to ease feelings of worthlessness or vulnerability –A need to feel superior to authority figures (e.g., the physician) that is gratified by being able to deceive the physician

14 Etiology factitious disorder by proxy: the parent is using the children to meet these needs alternatively, vicarious satisfaction of attention and nurturance needs that may be missing from her marriage the behaviour stems from narcissism, sociopathy, and the desire to manipulate authority figures

15 Marybeth Tinning From 1972 to 1985, she lost nine children: 1. Jennifer, 8 days old: meningitis 2. Three weeks later, 2 year old Joseph: DOA; viral infection & seizure disorder 3. Six weeks later, 4 year old Barbara: cardiac arrest 4. The next year, 3 week old Timothy: SIDS 5. Two years later, 5 month old Nathan: DOA; pulmonary edema 6. Four years later, 2 ½ year old Mary: SIDS 7. The next year, 3 month old Jonathan: no cause determined 8. The next year, adopted 3 year old Timothy: bronchial pneumonia 9. 4 years later, 3 month old Tami Lynne: SIDS

16 Female Serial Killers

17 Long killing sprees Less violent Money and materialistic tendencies Attention seeking behaviour, cult, sex, need to overpower, personality disorders People close to them M. D. Kelleher & C. L. Kelleher (1998): 100 female serial killing cases; classification into nine categories

18 1.Angel of Death She can be seen in the role of medical caretaker, nurse, midwife, home aide, doctor, etc. Angel of death usually preys on the sick, vulnerable or invalid in order to fulfill the desires of control and domination. e.g., Genene Jones, while working as a pediatric nurse, is believed to have killed between 11 and 46 infants and children in her care

19 2.Black Widow A black widow murders for greed. Her husband, children or other family member become sacrificial to her lust for money. They are generally seen to kill for inheritance or for collecting life insurance. e.g., Lydia Catherine Ambrose killed five husbands and lovers for their insurance money.

20 3.Sexual Predator A female serial killer in the role of sexual predator is a rarity, especially with out a partner. But recently new cases have come up which would shed more light on female sexual predator behaviour. e.g., Aileen Wuornos

21 4.Avenger She lashes out at all those who have thwarted her in her gains. Deep seated anger, desire for revenge drives this woman to commit mass murders. e.g., Aileen Wuornos

22 5.Partner in Crime Crime teams are not unheard of and male- female partnership for serial killing is also not that uncommon. They often commit crimes of sexual nature where the male accomplices mostly dominate their female partners. e.g., Karla Homolka helped Paul Bernardo subdue and rape victims — even her own sister — and was believed to have participated in several of the murders of young women for which the pair were convicted

23 6.Profit or Crime Profit killers, again, are a rarity. They are considered as bright and resourceful without any conscience. They are sociopaths who are ready to kill just to get their way in the world. e.g., Madame Popova

24 7.Question of Sanity Delusions, paranoia, schizophrenia and other mental disorders e.g., Andrea Yates: drowned her five children in a bathtub while suffering postpartum depression and severe psychosis after recent childbirth

25 8.Unexplained Killings by a woman in a random and unapparent manner which baffles the law enforcement, particularly where the motives remain obscure and inexplicable. e.g., Christine Falling

26 9.Unsolved The unsolved crimes which are believed to be the work of a woman. e.g., Edith Bingham?

27 Characteristics Summary Kill for money and other gains Often takes twice as long to catch a female serial killer Keep a low profile and often kill people who are close to them Target vulnerable victims Angel of death killers often diagnosed with Munchausen Syndrome or Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy

28 Sex Differences Summary males regularly stalk strangers, females largely tend to slay those close to them intimately males tend to be physical (shoot, stab, batter and strangle); women most often use poison Male motive is half the time sexually driven; Female motives: profit (75 percent), control (13 percent) or revenge (12 percent) a male's killing spree: several months to four years; like female activities average, from six to eight years (some have gone undetected for three decades) three common denominators: –an ability to portray a surface normality when it is necessary for planning and survival purposes –psychopaths (not insane) –as psychopaths they lack a conscience

29 Representative Examples

30 Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed Hungary 1590 – 1610 Tortured, burned, froze to death (over 600 girls and young women) earlier victims were the servant girls of Csejte Castle, where she lived with her husband after her husband's death, she got a free rein to torture and kill women with the help of her four faithful servants believed to bathe in the blood of young women in pursuit of eternal beauty rumours started to spread and eventually, some of her intended victims escaped and went to authorities she was never put on a trial, though her accomplices were awarded capital punishment was put on Castle arrest in 1610 until her death

31 Amelia Dyer London (1876 – 1896) 247 infants strangling or poison and threw their bodies in Thames one of the most prolific female serial killers in history called “baby farmer killer” or “baby butcher” charged a considerable fee for her services and even advertised in the newspaper neglect or starvation  strangulation or opium injection caught by London Police in 1896 and was executed by hanging

32 Belle Gunness Indiana: Stabbed, beheaded, beat victims to death (over 40 victims) Black widow killer her children, adopted children, many husbands and boyfriends Although suspicions grew when her guests and her children started disappearing or dying mysteriously, she still managed to convince law enforcement of her innocence In 1908, staged her own death and evaded arrest

33 Madame Popova Russia Killed abusive husbands for a nominal fee (over 300 men) Inexpensive methods like poisons 1909, the police received information from a recently widowed and repenting woman about Madame Popova’s involvement in her husband's death Captured and executed by firing squad (1909)

34 Aileen Wuornos

35 Selected Discussion Topic Related course material (e.g., sex roles, stereotypes, violence against women, mental illness, relationships) Compared to male perpetrators of similar crimes (e.g., more surprising/horrifying or less?) Mini essay; discuss & submit next week


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