It Is Not Okay For Fathers, But For Mothers Killing Your Kids Is Justified

One of the first stories I saw on the news this morning was the mother who drove her minivan into the water at the beach in Florida with her kids on board. When I saw the footage I said to my wife that this was deliberate. There was no way this was an accident. Sadly, it turns out, I was right.

We all know that she was saved and so were here children so that is one positive from this news story. But what I discovered over the course of the day you will be shocked by.

In my recent article There Is No Justification For Killing Your Child from late January 2014 I made mention of the fact that I was not going to be quick to judge the father in the apparent murder/suicide discovery from earlier that day. I brought the attention to my readers the fact that he might have had some sort of mental disorder or was suffering from depression.

minivan mom florida
The scene from the beach in Florida where the mother tried to kill her children

When I spoke on radio about the possibility of the dad suffering I was quickly shut down and the line There Is No Justification For Killing Your Child was used. And that is correct. And as I mentioned, I maybe went in too quick with any sympathy for this dad if he was indeed suffering. Maybe it wasn’t too early. Maybe the reaction that I got from the radio host is still public sentiment on that case. In fact, I bet it is.

It was only two weeks later that another child was murdered by his father. Again the public outcry was tremendous only this time the mother spoke of her estranged husband’s mental problems which followed a day or so later by the police admitting that the father had outstanding arrest warrants and intervention orders taken out by the mother, against the boy’s father because of fears of violence.

And then, only two days after this murder of a child at the hands of his father, this news story was published. Please be warned that there is distressing details in this article that may cause grief to some readers.

Yes it would seem that fathers killing their child or children in Australia is a common occurrence. And even though it would seem by that news story I shared that there would be too many to remember, who in Australia wouldn’t have been thinking about the case of Robert Farquharson who drove his three boys into that body of water killing them when they saw that mother in her minivan drive her kids into the water on that beach in Florida?

Yes the case against fathers is water tight. But fathers are not the only ones who kill their kids.

Filicide is the deliberate act of a parent killing his or her own son or daughter. The word filicide derives from the Latin words filius meaning "son" or filia meaning daughter and the suffix -cide meaning to kill, murder, or cause death. "A filicide" may refer to the parent who killed his or her child as well as to the criminal act that the parent committed.

In a report from 2000 by the U.S. Department of Justice, it was reported that between 1976 and 1997 parents and step-parents murdered nearly 11,000 children. Mothers and stepmothers committed about half of these child murders. Sons and stepsons accounted for 52% of those killed by mothers. Mothers were responsible for a higher share of children killed during infancy (or up to the age of 8 years old).

In Australia we are all aware of the case of Kiesha Weippeart being murdered by her mother Kristi Abrahams. Then there’s the case of former national waterpolo player Keli Lane who killed her newborn baby. And who can forget Kathleen Folbigg who killed all four of her babies over an eight year period?

When the case against Kristi Abrahams was made public there was the public outcry that you would expect. Six months before her arrest she was seen on the news crying out for anyone with information about the disappearance of her daughter to come forward and help them. The fact that she kept up the lie for so long no doubt angered the community so much more.

So what is it that I saw today that you would be shocked by?

This on iVillage Australia’s Facebook page…

support for the motherAnd this on The Daily Telegraphs Facebook page…

support for the mother 2 That’s support for the mother. Support for the mother who tried to kill her kids. It would seem that many of the woman who have made comments on the iVillage Australia and Daily Telegraph Facebook pages are sympathisers with an attempted murderer.

Okay, so there is one woman amongst that lot that thinks that if it were a dad who had done this there would be no sympathy, and I will leave the last word on this up to Scott Wales who made a comment on the Daily Telegraph’s Facebook page.

no support for the motherDo you think that fathers are judged unfairly in the news when mothers make up 50% of the killers of their own children?

4 thoughts on “It Is Not Okay For Fathers, But For Mothers Killing Your Kids Is Justified

  1. I think that gender plays a big role in public perception. When people see a father killing a child, he’s looked at as a terrible murderer to be punished. But when a mother does it, she’s looked at as a sick person who needs help. My guess is that this goes back to society’s ingrained momentum of mothers being the “natural” parent/caregiver and fathers being the breadwinner. And while there’s a lot more stuff out there now about fathers being just as connected and loving to their kids (and inversely, mothers being potentially just as disconnected and violent), our societal momentum carries us forward and we continue to see moms as the caregiver and dads as the accessory. When the accessory goes bad, you remove them. When the caregiver goes bad, you fix them.
    There’s still much work to do in convincing people to look at moms and dads equally – both in good times and bad.

  2. Mothers can kill new born babies and the Police do not lay charges. They can suffocate an autistic child and be free. They can chain an autistic child to a bed or chair and that is okay while you go out shopping. You can just tell the Police you feel tired when a Social Worker finds the child and you will become a hero everyone sorry for you and not the child. Nothing said about the dirty filthy house you neglect. We need a Royal Commission or investigation into who is ordering the Police not to lay charges or the Coroner or Judge crying for the mums of newborns who are murdered and never care about the child.

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