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Is a man ever worth killing?

Updated on June 7, 2011

I recently met a very interesting individual who asked whether I would ever consider killing my spouse or boyfriend. No, it wasn't a request to set up a "hit", it was just a query that I knew was being asked tongue-in-cheek given the fact that this person works as part of the production team for the Oxygen Channel true-crime show Snapped. The intentionally sensationalized program showcases the lives of woman who have been charged with murder and asks a drooling, tragedy loving public, "Who are these women and what drives them to kill?"

So, who are these women really and does the general television viewing public really care about how they got to the point where blowing their intimates head off seemed better than just walking away, maybe badly bruised and psychologically scarred but free of a jail sentence and life-long shame? Each situation carries with it facts that shock and dismay even those who claim, "that isn't me and no man will ever treat me that way", but is that really true? Despite the fact that the message Snapped may be sending is one of marginalizing abused women and lumping them in with truly homicidal female sociopaths that kill for other reasons, the show still draws attention to an issue that has long been ignored and an issue that impacts the lives of more women than is actually reported.

Statistics show that approximately 623,000 violent crimes—554,000 against female victims and 69,000 against male victims—were committed by an intimate partner in 2007. The percentage of female victims (23%) of intimate partner violence was nearly 8 times that of male victims (3%). (U.S. Department of Justice 2007 National Crime Victimization Survey: )

So, if women are the prime targets of domestic violence then is it really any surprise that an estimated 7% will kill their spouse or boyfriend? This figure may not be accurate since some within that statistic may be like 46- year-old nursing home worker Barbara Louise Huxley who killed numerous residents over a 20-year span, virtually free of suspicion because of her gender and position. This isn't an abused woman. This is a cold-blooded killer who claimed, "After spending so long watching deranged men climb straight to the top of the FBI's Most Wanted list, it was hard to get up the energy to go into work everyday and suffocate another frail diabetic". A serial killer gets down every now and then I guess but her statement, "I just want to be treated like any other homicidal sociopath," is chilling when you consider the fact that she could have easily gone undetected many more years had her need for attention and jealousy of male serial killers not gotten the best of her. Barbara Louise Huxley's tendency to kill innocent nursing home residents just because she could had nothing to do with her gender, she killed both males and females, nor should she be included in the same category as women pushed to the edge by physical abuse and mental torture. The people she suffocated and strangled with surgical tubing or other murderous means did nothing wrong other than be weaker than her. An abused woman is not preying on someone who is weaker when she decides to kill her abuser, she is seeking to stop her pain and suffering when no one else has demonstrated any desire to help her. It is now an issue of "kill or be killed" and in the mind of someone beaten to the point of mentally and physically breaking it is the only logical choice their skewed thought processes can focus on.

Of course the "story" of Ms Huxley may or may not be true since no evidence can be found to prove her claims aside from an article posted on The Onion, a site known for satirical news reports, it still makes one ponder the difference between a gender neutral sociopath and an abused woman finally standing up for herself. Some believe that a person, male or female, who is in a life threatened situation deserves to be able to defend themselves against bodily harm even if that means killing their attacker no matter the personal relationship. Others feel, for women involved in domestic abuse, calling the police, getting an (often useless) Order For Protection or leaving behind everything to go live in a shelter will solve the "problem". For many the problem is still breathing, and is now more pissed off than ever, waiting for them to take just one step out from under that false umbrella of safety. This is the message that gets lost when the media attempts to glorify and sensationalize the female "husband killer" as some oddity that deserves nothing more than to be held up as a freak-show attraction or a ratings-grabber rather than the preventable tragedy it is and should be viewed as.

The real issue, for ALL women, should this man, total waste of skin that he is, worth giving up your soul for? Is he worth turning over your life to the media whores, ADD public and increasingly unsympathetic courts for dissection and judgment should you kill him? None of these are easy questions to answer when you are the one faced with years worth of both physical and mental blows and sadly the stories will continue. When will we, as a society, care enough to stop the cycle of abuse and when will women feel empowered enough to speak up before that "little love-tap" turns into something more sinister? I hope it is soon.

National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE (7233) or TTY 1−800−787−3224
National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE (7233) or TTY 1−800−787−3224

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