Familicide is not always preceded by violence, however. A desire for and sense of entitlement to control - especially over finances and the family “unit” - is a more common denominator. Familicide often occurs in the face of a spiralling loss of control over these areas, especially by a male “head of the household”.
Based on what we know so far in the killings of Clarke and her children, she experienced an extreme form of “coercive control”, with her dress and movements closely monitored and enforced by her husband.
Clarke also had a domestic violence order against him, had recently left the relationship and had expressed fears her husband may kill her. Control, and the imminent loss of it, was central to Baxter’s actions against both Clarke and her children. Children can also be victims of gender-based violence.
Whereas almost all cases of homicides committed by males against their female partners occurred after the female ended the relationship or announced her intention to do so, most of the homicides committed by females against their male partners were reactions to severe male domestic violence.
Nearly all male murderers claim that: (a) they committed the murder out of love, and (b) it was a result of loving too much.
The murder is not an unintended result of violence that went too far—as most of these murders are well-planned. Furthermore, wife murder cannot be understood in terms of loss of control or local insanity. It is rather a deliberate act which is the result of an emotional ripeness that created the mental readiness for committing the murder as an act of profound despair that is ready to destroy the other, even if this means destroying oneself.
a certain constellation of factors
The man perceives the woman to be his whole world, so he feels that any separation from her entails a loss of his own identity. The man's life lacks other sources of meaning and reasons for living. The man's traditional perception of masculinity, which dictates that the male has full power, honor, and control, runs counter to his dependency upon his wife, making that reliance appear evidence of his weakness and humiliation, and an affront to masculine honor. The man's personal behavior is rigid and uncompromising. The man's prevailing beliefs about love appear to justify the sacrifice of his wife on the one hand and of persistence on the other. In this case, the ideology behind love provides legitimacy for terrible crimes.
The specific event that ignites the explosive barrel often revolves around the woman threatening to or actually separating from her partner. Knowing these conditions of risk will enable us to read the writing on the wall, thereby preventing many wife murders.
As a result of unrequited love, men commit suicide three to four times more often than women, and it is virtually only men who kill their partners when the latter leave or intend to leave them. In this sense, women are more realistic; they tend to be more accepting of the fact that love might not endure forever.
The various related aspects of ideal love—its being total, uncompromising, and unconditional—as formed by Romantic ideology indicate the extreme nature of that ideology.
in most instances, it is the murderers who are the weaker partners. It is often the case that the wife was independent, stable, and strong, and the man was weak and lacked the control that made her useful to him.
The weakness of these men enables them to exploit their wives. The murder is done then out of weakness and not out of strength.
The woman is the man’s whole world and the condition of his existence.
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