Predominantly women, not men, kill children According to Jeff White, writing for the Report Newsmagazine, men are brutes who 'always specialized in killing older children.' However, it is women, not men, who kill more children, by far. The following article was commissioned by the Report Newsmagazine but was not published. Apparently it became overlooked and forgotten. I can't blame the editor for that. He was busy fighting a case for freedom of the press in a Human Rights Tribunal of the Alberta Human Rights Commission at the time.Response to Jeff White Andrea Yates notwithstanding,….all men are beastly brutes, if we are to believe what Jeff White told us. Re:Report, Apr. 29, 2002, p. 40
According to Jeff White, "Men have always specialized in wholesale killing of older children." Well, maybe he has always done so (how did he get away with it?), but nobody else I know did. He told more whoppers in his article. He mentioned a survey (unnamed) "of 35 cultures from around the world," that "found that 21 of them killed deformed or sickly children," and "positively demanded" their deaths. "Only Christians didn't approve of it." By my reckoning, 35 - 21 = 14. Were those 14 cultures exclusively Christian? Did Jews and Muslims habitually kill their disabled children? Are Christians to be despised for bringing an end to the practice of destroying those that don't conform to pagan ideals of beauty or convenience? Hitler promoted such "Whitish" cleansing. The more of our Christian ideals we discard, the more the people on the Left cleanse. It's now a women's right!
In addressing the topic of the male role in "serious domestic violent crime," Jeff White covered a selective and very broad range of subjects, localities and much anecdotal evidence. From there he then drifted back to Canada and cemented his hypothesis of men being habitual killers of their families firmly into place with StatCan's estimates on partner violence, even if covering only a fraction of family violence. Those data relate to all alleged violence between men and women only, including instances of men yelling at their wives, giving them the cold shoulder or "scaring" them. They are demonstrably tainted with StatCan's pro-feminist and family-hostile editorial bias. Moreover, they are not even based on biased convictions but largely on the results of telephone surveys. Why not, advocacy numbers fit a pet theory so much better, right?
StatCan's very broad definitions of "mother" and "father" deliberately mislead. A "spouse" could mean just about anyone in the presence of a woman or man, no matter the duration or quality of the presence. "Mother" is likely to be a natural mother, whereas "father" is most likely any man but a natural father. Thereby it is made to appear that we can safely ignore the far superior safety of families headed by married biological parents. However, in their care, as Patrick Fagan from the Heritage Foundation identified, children are 33 times less likely to be seriously abused and 73 times less likely to be killed than in single-mother "families."
American government agencies report numbers that are more objective, not as subjective as those Jeff White selected. In the US in 1999, 70.3 percent of perpetrators of child abuse were female parents acting alone or with others. Out of an estimated 826,000 victims of child maltreatment, nation-wide, 1,100 were fatalities. Their perpetrators break down as follows:
PERPETRATOR RELATIONSHIP 
31.5% Female Parent Only
10.7% Male Parent Only *
21.3% Both Parents *
16.3% Female Parent and Other
1.1% Male Parent and Other *
4.5% Family Relative
6.1% Substitute Care Provider(s)
* "Male parent" in that context most likely is just about anything but a natural father.
That means that, acting alone or with others, female parents were responsible in 69.1 percent, and male parents in 33.1 percent of cases of fatal child maltreatment.
Contrary to Jeff White's yarn, if anyone cornered the market on the killing of children, women did, not men! Furthermore, considering stepfathers, common-law husbands, boyfriends and other strange males involved in the lives of women and in the abuse of "women's" children, it emerges that natural fathers are the least likely to let harm come to any child. That's what we should try to establish, not deny and twist around.
Not much can be gained by tarring all men or women with the same brush. It would be a long jump from the circumstance that at most three percent of people engage in child abuse to the assertion that therefore all women (or all men) are child abusers. Such jumps in logic are a prerogative usurped by feminists, not the mark of an objective journalist.
Space doesn't permit to go into the misperceptions promoted by Jeff White with respect to partner violence. He should look up the studies undertaken by Drs. John Archer, Martin Fiebert and others. Newspapers, too, in spite of their liberal bent still provide much useful information, as long as we can keep it free of editorializing by uninformed people or those with an agenda. By the way, there were no "horrors of the Yates trial," but the trial exposed, examined and judged the horrors visited by Andrea Yates on the children she and her husband conceived.
Was it necessary to publish an article that contained such a large collection of misleading information? Aren't men being vilified enough already without anyone adding to the general slander directed against them? Let's hope that Jeff White's article is not a sign of worse things to come, and that we won't see the Report join the drive to keep women and "their" children safe from those beastly brutish men, although the media frequently report that women kill children in revenge against the children's fathers.
What's next, the promotion of deadly ideologies of people like Prof. Steven Pinker? ("…birth is as arbitrary a milestone as any other" in setting a boundary for the killing of a child ) They significantly extend abortion to include the new-born whose continued life will depend solely on a "rational" decision by the mother, all in compliance with the "prehistoric tradition of infanticide as the oldest method of reproductive control." At least Steven Pinker, who used almost identical words, only speculated that there may have been such a tradition. On Jeff White's keyboard it became an assertion. The Report printed it and always told the truth before, therefore the "prehistoric tradition" (an oxymoron) must be true?
See also: Video on violent women
1.) "Family Violence in Canada 2000 — An Alternative Approach," by Eeva Sodhi, a letter to Statistics Canada, posted 2000 08 31, at http://fathersforlife.org/Sodhi/fvcans1.htm, a critique pointing out flaws in the method of presentation and in the statistics contained in: Statistics Canada pub. "Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile 2000" Cat. No. 85-224 (Note: Interestingly, in her commentary, Eeva Sodhi identifies and analyses precisely those statistics by which StatCan misleads the uninformed in exactly the manner in which Jeff White got mislead.)
2.) A compelling status report and useful suggestions for solutions are provided in the report by the Heritage Foundation "Marriage: The Safest Place for Women and Children", by Patrick F. Fagan and Kirk A. Johnson, Ph.D., Backgrounder #1535.
3.) Child Maltreatment 1999, Fig. 4-3 http://www.calib.com/nccanch/chma99.pdf
4.) Studies by Archer, Fiebert and others can be accessed or are listed at http://fathersforlife.org/family_violence_main_page.htm
5.) "Why They Kill Their Newborns," by Steven Pinker, New York Times, November 2, 1997, Sunday, Section: Magazine Desk, http://www.gargaro.com/pinker.html
Copyright © 2003 United Western Communications Ltd.
By Dahlia Lithwick
When Parents KillWhy fathers do it. Why mothers do it.By Dahlia LithwickPosted Tuesday, March 12, 2002, at 6:00 PM ETAndrea YatesWomen do not, by and large, make terrific criminals. In the United States, women commit only two crimes as frequently as men. The first is shoplifting. The second is the murder of their own children. Andrea Yates, the Houston mother whose trial for the murders of three of her children ends today, and Marilyn Lemak, the Chicago nurse recently convicted of killing her three children, are not at all statistical anomalies. Somehow, women—who commit less than 13 percent of all violent crimes in the United States—commit about 50 percent of all parental murders. Why do so many women direct their most violent impulses toward their own children? While it may once have been true that women were the sole—and often frustrated—caregivers of small children, mothers now work, yet they don't kill their colleagues; they kill their babies. Why? Feminists and legal researchers tend to claim that such women must be extremely ill. Judges and juries mostly agree, with the result being that women who kill their children in this country are disproportionately hospitalized or treated, while men who do so are disproportionately jailed, even executed.
According to a recent book entitled Mothers Who Kill Their Children,by Michelle Oberman—a professor of law at DePaul University—juries are loath to hand down murder convictions for mothers accused of killing their own children. Such juries are even more reluctant to impose draconian penalties. A 1969 study by Dr. Phillip Resnick, the "father" of maternal filicide (the murder of a child by a parent), found that while mothers convicted of murdering their children were hospitalized 68 percent of the time and imprisoned 27 percent of the time, fathers convicted of killing their children were sentenced to prison or executed 72 percent of the time and hospitalized only 14 percent of the time. More recent British studies by P.T. D'Orban support these findings. And although the United States does not have any formal equivalent to England's Infanticide Act—which codifies a sort of postpartum depression defense—American juries and judges have taken it upon themselves to excuse and treat most of these mothers for mental illness while condemning the fathers as violent criminals.
The scholars, the media, and most of the studies do their best to persuade us that these murderous moms really are ill. Perhaps it comforts us to believe that anyone who violates the sacred mother-child bond is simply crazy; it would be unimaginable if these mothers were making rational criminal choices. And since women are not violent in other contexts, most scholars, including Oberman, argue that the majority of maternal murderers suffer from depression, postpartum psychoses, and other mental afflictions. But no one has put forth an analogous medical theory to explain whether fathers who kill their offspring are also depressed, isolated, or psychotic.
The problem with the "illness" theory is that it only goes partway toward explaining why women kill their babies. Illness may explain how some women eventually snap and behave violently. But it doesn't begin to explain why they direct this madness so disproportionately toward their own offspring. Even taking into account that some small fraction of the mental illnesses associated with maternal filicide—most notably postpartum depression—are triggered by the births themselves, the illness theory doesn't explain why mothers suffering from other mental illnesses, or who aren't ill at all, act out with their own children rather than strangers. The illness theory doesn't explain why we don't consider fathers who kill their children to be sick. Pulling murderous mothers out of the field of ordinary criminology and viewing them as fundamentally different raises more questions than it answers. Perhaps murderous mothers are no crazier than fathers. Perhaps murderous fathers are even crazier than mothers. Either way, the failure to view these crimes as morally or legally equivalent reflects a more central legal truth: We still view children as the mother's property. Since destroying one's own property is considered crazy while destroying someone else's property is criminal, women who murder their own children are sent to hospitals, whereas their husbands are criminals, who go to jail or the electric chair.
Why does the legal system treat a mother who kills someone else's child as though she were a sociopathic killer while showing mercy toward a mom who drowns her own? For the same reason the law treats individuals who burn down other people's houses as criminals and institutionalizes those who burn down their own. Men are disproportionately jailed for filicide not because they are more evil than women but because we believe they have harmed a woman's property—as opposed to their own.
Children under the age of 5 in the United States are more likely to be killed by their parents than anyone else. Contrary to popular mythology, they are rarely killed by a sex-crazed stranger. FBI crime statistics show that in 1999 parents were responsible for 57 percent of these murders, with family friends and acquaintances accounting for another 30 percent and other family members accounting for 8 percent. Crime statistics further reveal that of the children under 5 killed from 1976 to 1999, 30 percent were murdered by their mothers while 31 percent were killed by their fathers. And while the strangers, acquaintances, and other family members who kill children skew heavily toward males (as does the entire class of murderers), children are as likely to be murdered by their fathers as by their mothers.
Doug Saunders observed recently in the Toronto newspaper the Globe and Mail that the media is complicit in treating maternal killers as newsworthy and paternal killers as ordinary criminals. Newspapers currently following every motion in the Andrea Yates trial completely ignored last month's Los Angeles filicide, in which Adair Garcia killed five of his six children by asphyxiating them with a barbeque he'd lit in the living room. He did it to punish his estranged wife, who had moved out a week earlier. Coverage of Ukranian immigrant Nikolay Soltys, who killed his pregnant wife and 3-year-old son last August, was less focused on his mental state than his dramatic flight and capture. Why is Yates a front-page story while Garcia is disregarded? To paraphrase Michelle Oberman: Murdering mothers are just different.
The same studies that have been used to prove that murderous mothers are "sick" can as readily be used to support the theory that both mothers and fathers consider children to be a woman's property. Social science research and FBI crime statistics show that men and women differ in the reasons they kill their children, in the methods they employ, and in the ways they behave following such murders. None of this data proves that fathers are crazier than mothers. Much of it suggests that we all simply believe children "belong" to their moms.
Researchers, building on the work of Phillip Resnick, have shown that women tend to kill their own offspring for one of several reasons: because the child is unwanted; out of mercy; as a result of some mental illness in the mother; in retaliation against a spouse; as a result of abuse. Frequent themes are that they themselves deserved to be punished, that killing the children would be an altruistic or loving act, or that children need to be "erased" in order to save or preserve a relationship. Contrast this with the reasons men kill their children: Most frequently—like Garcia or Soltys—they kill because they feel they have lost control over their finances, or their families, or the relationship, or out of revenge for a perceived slight or infidelity. The consistent idea is that women usually kill their children either because they are angry at themselves or because they want to destroy that which they created, whereas more often than not, men kill their children to get back at a woman—to take away what she most cherishes.
According to a recent article by Elizabeth Fernandez in the San Francisco Chronicle, studies further reveal that fathers are far more likely to commit suicide after killing their children. Mothers attempt post-filicide suicide but rarely succeed. Some scholars suggest this is because mothers tend to view their children as mere extensions of themselves and that these homicides are in fact suicidal.
Perhaps more revealing than the differences in why they kill their offspring are the differences between how fathers and mothers do so. For one thing, parental murderers tend to be highly physical. According to a 1988 survey done by the U.S. Justice Department, while 61 percent of all murder defendants used a gun in 1988, only 20 percent of the parents who killed their children used one. Children were drowned and shaken, beaten, poisoned, stabbed, and suffocated. These methods betray a certain "craziness" in both genders—they betray an intense passion and a lack of planning. But a study by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children shows that fathers are far more violent. And mothers frequently dispose of the corpses in what researchers call a "womblike" fashion. Bodies are swaddled, submerged in water, or wrapped in plastic. Moreover, the NCMEC study showed that while the victims of maternal killings are almost always found either in or close to the home, fathers will, on average, dispose of the bodies hundreds of miles away. All these behaviors suggest that women associate these murders with themselves, their homes, and their bodies
None of the arguments here assumes that there is no such thing as postpartum depression or, in rarer cases, postpartum psychosis—a deep break from reality that affects less than one in 500 new mothers. Andrea Yates is actually a good example of someone who was overdetermined to experience some kind of psychotic break that would end tragically. But Yates is only one of hundreds of mothers who kill every year, and while complete psychotic breaks explain why some of this homicidal rage and violence is turned upon one's own children, it doesn't account for either the staggering numbers of maternal homicides or for society's leniency toward women in these cases. The property theory does provide these answers. Women still believe that they have sole dominion over so little property that arson and armed robbery and rape make no intuitive sense to them. But the destruction and control of something deemed to be a woman's sole property sends a powerful message about who's really in charge, and this message hasn't changed since the time of Jason and Medea.
It would, of course, help if we could stop thinking of children as anyone's property. It does nothing to advance the feminist cause to simply assume that all mothers who kill their children must necessarily be crazy. It will do a good deal to advance the cause of children's rights if we begin to consider them as legal entities in and of themselves.
All data from: US Department of Health and Human Services