Throughout history, women have taken on the roles of innovators, designers, founders, and inventors, but they have also taken on less civilized roles. Female serial killers dot history’s landscape as much as their male counterparts, but their motives to kill and backgrounds from which they hail may surprise you.
The idea of a female killer is something that strikes a different kind of fear into people. The concept that the gender who seems to be the most comforting and nurturing can turn into a societal monster hits us on a subconscious level, to where the public wants to ignore they exist.
A study conducted by Penn State psychology professor Marissa Harrison has proved to be quite enlightening regarding the mindset of a female serial killer, and delves into the reason why so little research has been done to understand them.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Harrison reviews the typical profile of a female serial killer, and the motivation behind the murders. The team spent months reviewing every report of a possible female serial killer, going back as far as the Revolutionary War. The typical profile seemed to go as such: young, middle class woman, Christian faith, married, with a job in the field of helping care of persons who could not care for themselves.
“It is shocking,” said the Penn State psychology professor. “The profile we put together sounds just like your average person. … There is no way to tell.”
Harrison also went on to state that female serial killers would kill for assets or power, while male serial killers would kill for dominance, control, or sex. They are also the least researched killers, possibly due to “culturally ingrained notions that women would be incapable of such crimes.” Quite a deadly misconception that lends itself to the rationale that female serial killers evade capture twice as long as males. That means twice the time allowed for another murder.
Author Carol Anne Davis gives different insight into 13 different yet equally brutal cases involving female serial killers. As reported by CrimeTime, Davis goes into great detail regarding the killers backgrounds, most of which came from violent and abusive homes, and found the most inconceivable ways of taking their pain out on helpless victims of all ages.
The Inquisitr posted an interesting article on Joanna Dennehy, a woman accused of stabbing at least three men in 2013, which can be read here.
Female serial killers come by their killings for different reasons, but one thing is for certain: gender should never play a role in determining motive.