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'Tragic Family Situation' - murder of children, apparently by their father.

(184 Posts)
Northernlurker Mon 16-Jul-12 19:37:03

There is a horrible case in the news today. A father and three children disappeared from the home. Today the children were found stabbed and the father appears to thrown himself off a nearby quarry edge.
The police have confirmed they aren't looking for anyone else and one officer commented ''It appears to be a tragic family situation.' Now I have a problem with that description.

What's tragic about this is that three children have been robbed of their lives. It appears that the person who should love and cherish them has planned their removal from the home and then killed them. This isn't an accident. There is nothing inevitable about this crime. It occurred as a result of one person's actions and choices and it's not a 'family situation' at all. It seems to me that describing it as such detracts from the true violence of the situation. The police describe it as a muder investigation. Why not leave it at that? Why the need to soften it?

ecclesvet Mon 16-Jul-12 19:42:20

It's a tragic situation, involving a family. Doesn't seem to soften anything to me.

FermezLaBouche Mon 16-Jul-12 19:44:37

A desperately sad situation but I must confess to watching the case closely to see whether it emerges there may have been some infidelity on the part of the mother.
always seems to change the way the case is portrayed. sad

fairyfriend Mon 16-Jul-12 19:46:24

Why is this in feminism? I don't understand the link!

StewieGriffinsMom Mon 16-Jul-12 20:11:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SardineQueen Mon 16-Jul-12 20:15:22

NL yes I read the story earlier and also felt uncomfortable with the way it was described / portrayed.

Dahlen Mon 16-Jul-12 20:15:49

I think I understand what you're trying to say, but you may be jumping the gun a little bit.

Only time and a full investigation will reveal the truth of what happened. Until the facts are known, it is indeed a tragic family situation. My heart goes out to the mother, whose agony must be beyond description at this point.

TBH I wouldn't feel comfortable commenting about this particular case precisely because we don't yet know what happened. It feels very disrespectful to the family. However, if you want to discuss why female family annihilators and male family annihilators are treated very differently by the press, I think that's a very valid discussion for the feminist section.

Sunnywithachanceofshowers Mon 16-Jul-12 20:21:23

IIRC there are more male family annihilators than women. But it seems to me that both are on the increase.

So sad. sad

SardineQueen Mon 16-Jul-12 20:21:59

I can't even think of reading about a female family annihilator in the papers.
Is that what you mean?
It would be interesting to have some more information on that - what % family annihilations are carried out by men and by women, how the reporting differs, that sort of thing.

StewieGriffinsMom Mon 16-Jul-12 20:22:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Mintyy Mon 16-Jul-12 20:23:43

Agree with Dahlen. It feels disrespectful to be discussing this family at all as it is all so recent.

SardineQueen Mon 16-Jul-12 20:24:07

I have found a definition

""Family annihilator" is a term used to refer to someone who commits familicide, the act of killing one's own family, usually immediate members, but instances of the perpetrator targeting other relatives, such as in-laws, are not unheard of. Reasons for familicide vary, and can include:
Spite or revenge (for example, a former spouse killing their ex-partner and the children due to custody issues)
A twisted act of mercy
Mental illness or instability, such as severe depression caused by multiple real or imagined failures
Eliminating witnesses during a robbery
Out of all forms of mass murder, familicide is regarded as the most common, and often ends with the perpetrator (who is almost always male) committing suicide."

going to look for some stats now.

SardineQueen Mon 16-Jul-12 20:25:49

"I’m focusing on male perpetrators because they are by far the most common, according to a recent report (discussed below, HT: Docuticker, yet again). Although there are a few female family killers, they tend to be truly psychotic or have other serious problems connecting with reality."

Is from here

It is hard to find stats - I guess because it is a relatively rare crime.

Mintyy Mon 16-Jul-12 20:28:06

Sardine - I can think of two female family annihilators who have been tried in recent months off the top of my head. The stats will obviously prove that men are far more likely to do this than women. Whatever the statistics, I hate to think of this horrific story as being just another topic for the Mumsnet Feminists to chew over.

StewieGriffinsMom Mon 16-Jul-12 20:29:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SardineQueen Mon 16-Jul-12 20:32:18

Really?
I must have a terrible memory!

Mintyy I really don't think that the violence of men against women and children can be described as "just another topic to chew over".

SardineQueen Mon 16-Jul-12 20:32:57

Sorry that last post was in reply to mintyy.

Northernlurker Mon 16-Jul-12 20:34:20

I agree we don't know what happened in this specific case but tbh I'm not really talking about what has happened. It's the comment on what appears to have happened that bothers me because SGM is absolutely right about violence against women and children.
The police involved here were at one and the same time describing this as a murder and also 'a family situation' - I think that does minimise the violence involved. This is an issue we should talk about and challenge if needed because this hasn't just happened once. It happens a lot and it happens against a background of violence against women and their children. We have to talk about it.

Dahlen Mon 16-Jul-12 20:34:49

I don't know about stats, but it certainly seems more men than women are family annihilators. If you google "father kills children" or "mother kills children" there's a very obvious difference in numbers. It's not pleasant reading though and leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.

From memory of cases in the news, IMO it seems that women are presented as 'evil' (e.g. Lianne Smith) while men are presented as being driven over the edge (e.g. depressed because of money worries, his wife having an affair).

zookeeper Mon 16-Jul-12 20:40:16

I agree with Northernlurker; it appears that three children have been savagely murdered by their father; calling it a "tragic family situation" in some way minimises the horror of this and also in my view implies that the surviving member of the family should somehow share responsibility for this brutality.

PlumpDogPillionaire Mon 16-Jul-12 20:51:22

I think that the argument that the "tragic family situation" minimises the, erm, tragedy of this situation is misguided.
I don't think that this description implies anything about surviving members of this family.
I think it's fairly crass to read into this this situation in any 'political' way at this point and if all you know of it is what has been reported in the mass media. I also think that in doing this you undermine more serious feminism quite seriously.

drjohnsonscat Mon 16-Jul-12 20:52:59

I know exactly what you are getting at OP. Murder of children is not a 'tragic family situation'. It suggests it's just the stress and strain of being in a family and could happen to anyone. Or a man being pushed to the edge. It's not. It's murderous violence.

We don't know about this case but this seems likely from what the police are intimating to be a case of male violence against his family. No need to soft soap that. Whenever these stories come up (and it's not uncommon) my sister always says "how does that phrase go? Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned????"

But accept that we don't know what happened. Could have been something else awful. But that's not what the police are suggesting.

Mintyy Mon 16-Jul-12 20:56:18

I know what op is getting at. Leaves a bad taste in my mouth to be picking it over so soon after the event.

EdithWeston Mon 16-Jul-12 20:56:42

Family annihilations are so very, very rare that describing them as a tragedy seems fair enough.

I saw something in the papers today which says that 94 women are murdered by partners every year (which chimes with the poster above saying roughly 2 a week), and also 21 men per year. Less frequent, still tragic.

I think one can deplore and regret all these cases, regardless of sex of perpetrator.

minceorotherwise Mon 16-Jul-12 20:57:26

I suppose, that without a proper investigation they can't really say much more
It's probably down to the fact the can't say anything else, rather than expressing an opinion
When they say it's a tragic family situation, what they are saying is that yes it's tragic and it is within the family. Ie they are not looking for anyone else
So they a implying that the father is the perpetrator, rather than putting a spin on anyone's feelings on the matter

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