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Criminal Law doctrine and women who kill - Essay Example

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Criminal Law doctrine and women who kill

Thus when women do not conform to the male-dominated sex role expectations of what it is to be a good wife, good mother and therefore a good woman, they are then considered to be 'doubly deviant' and punished for both their legal infringements as well as their refusal to conform to the female gender behaviour. This becomes all the more relevant while considering that the bulk of female homicides involve the killing of those closest to them that is, their spouses, lovers or infants thereby contradicting all concepts of motherhood, wife and woman.
She further writes that when women kill it is typically not to terminate violence on their part, nor to gain any power over their male partners. Instead it is usually an attempt to get some degree of final and desperate control and relief for themselves from their abusive partner especially at that point when they realise that their very life is being threatened.
Patricia Pearson, Toronto based author of the hard-hitting book on female violence When She Was Bad: Violent Women and the Myth of Innocence, says women get off the hook for violent crimes because society will not admit they can be predators. According to her some women are getting away with murder simply because they're women. She argues that legal defences, portraying the murdress in a battered-women's syndrome, and misogynistic attitudes are giving some women a social licence to kill and be violent because society considers it too intimidating to admit that women can be capable of ruthless crimes just like men. She writes that society would rather think ofviolent women as hopeless, weak or child-like creatures more likely to have been abused or being simply crazy.
To prove her point she gives the example of women like the wicked Karla Homolka, who was guilty of helping to kidnap, sexually torture and kill three teenage girls, including her own sister. However, after winning a plea-bargained 12-year sentence she sat happily in her prison cell reading the books Battered Women and Perfect Victim.
"It worries me when people begin to feel entitled to use violence because they've bought so deeply into the idea of their own victimization," Ms. Pearson said during an interview. "The whole idea of learned helplessness is, you're so helpless you can't walk out the door and therefore, somehow, you're able to discover the strength to shoot the guy in the head. I think a larger number of women than we realize get away with murder for a whole number of different reasons."
"We don't want to take female violence seriously because I think we have our hands full with male violence and I think that we have an idea of women as being the people that you go to for your shelter. Out there in the mad and dangerous world at least you can go home at night to a sweet and comforting hearth. We can't accept the fact that we can't go home to a safe house."
Ms. Pearson is highly critical of some feminists who, according to her, are trying to keep the issue of female violence hidden. This allows society to avoid admitting that women, like men, can commit violence for an elaborate variety of reasons, and not simply on account of madness or in self-defence. This also permits these feminists to continue depicting women as sufferers rather than predators.
The silence on the issue, she says, is making sacrificial lambs out of men who are victimized by violent spouses, mothers and other women. "These guys are pariahs because we're ...Show more


Background Topic: Criminal law doctrine seems utterly incapable of dealing with women who kill. Either they are deemed monstrous and receive sentences that cannot be justified under any rational scheme of punishment, or they are treated with undue chivalry.
Author : eliwill
Criminal Law doctrine and women who kill essay example
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