Human beings, both men and women, are aggressive. The male gender is especially violent. Worldwide, 90% of all homicides are done by men. In the United States, the homicide rate is 5 per 100,000. In Canada, it’s 2 per 100,000 and Mexico it’s 19 per 100,000. Those statistics reveal that raw violence is not just a matter of biology, but social traditions and culture matter as well.
When it comes to killing a lover, over 64,000 intimate partner murders are perpetrated every year in America, with two-thirds of the victims being women. That means that over 20,000 men were killed by their female lovers. Clearly women have the potential for deadly violence, but most of the carnage is perpetrated by men.
Are men who kill their lovers different from men who kill non-intimates? Is a man who kills his wife or girlfriend in a different category from other male perpetrators of homicide? It turns out there are differences. The non-intimate murderer is usually younger in age than the domestic violence killer. He has a different personal history from the murderer of an intimate partner. The general male murderer has a more extensive criminal record, with a history of violent assaults, robbery, theft and drug dealing before he committed a homicide. Intimate killers have a less extensive and less versatile history of crime; they’re less likely to have committed a wide variety of offenses.
The non-intimate perpetrator of homicide tends to have a different early family history, with a higher likelihood of problematic upbringing. In particular, he’s more likely to have been raised by a violent father.
Because intimate partner killers may not have the documented violent histories of future non-intimate killers, their ominous risk for violence behavior may be harder to identify. Intimate partner killers have emotional and psychological deficiencies that are less visible, such as their inability to bear emotional pain, including feelings of loss, humiliation and momentary rage, which makes them susceptible to violent outbursts.
In my next blog, I’ll explore in more detail the personalities of men who kill their intimate partners.