One of the country’s leading experts on filicide, forensic psychiatrist Phillip Resnick, M.D., has developed a classification for this type of killing based on the parent’s motive.Resnick defines five types of filicide. In "altruistic" filicide a parent—almost always a mother in this category—kills her child or children as an extension of a suicide attempt. "These mothers see their children as an extension of themselves," he said. "They do not want to leave a child motherless in a ‘cruel’ world as seen through their depressed eyes."
In a second type of altruistic filicide a child is killed to end his or her real or imagined suffering. "These mothers may project their own unacceptable symptoms onto the child," he said.
In "acutely psychotic" filicide, hallucinations, epilepsy, or delirium drive a parent to kill a child. Psychiatrist evaluators will not find a "comprehensible motive" in this type of killing, Resnick said.
His third category involves "unwanted child" filicide, which includes homicides in which a parent no longer wants the child. - - American Psychiatric Association
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
The Tale of Banita Jacks: Another Unsupported Black Mother Cracks & Commits Filicide
Reading about Benita Jacks I can't help but think of Andrea Yates, but the class and race implications are wholly different. Still I always had a certain amount of sympathy for Yates, who was clearly mentally ill and should not have been left alone to care for her children. Further I was always suspicious of her ex-husband for being so intentionally oblivious to the pressure his wife was under. Some may dispute that of course but I found it odd that he never noticed any signs of deterioration in his wife and thought it was okay for one woman to care for 5 small children the majority of the time. Simply being a paycheck daddy isn't enough.
In this latest case, it was an un/never married mother of 4 who claimed her children were possessed by demons and killed them. She was found guilty of murder earlier today and while I think some legal remedy applies, it should not rest solely with her. This was clearly a case of a woman on the edge left to fend for herself. She had to sue the men who'd fathered these children for child support. So the question begs: where were the daddies? Why weren't they taking care of their children? She'd had her home foreclosed on and had lost her job. Who was helping her - or was she expected to suffer in silence being the "strong black woman"? Clearly Ms. Jacks may have made some poor choices but it goes hand in hand with the choice of those "sperm donors" to use her for sex and abandon their children. It makes a volatile cocktail with deadly results.
It took more than two weeks before anyone noticed these school-age children were missing. While some may tsk tsk and make grand statements about the working or underclass I see this as a trend that will continue to emerge. If it's not about them getting shot for not accepting a date or the new boyfriend killing the child from a former relationship, a celebrity rap artist getting busted for hiding assets to short change his pregnant ex-wife, denigrating music being lifted up as "art" or the Surgeon General nominee being ridiculed for her weight, many black women and girls are going to continue being treated like the dregs of this society.
It is imperative that those who see the writing on the wall to quickly take whatever steps needed to free themselves from a low quality life. This is why propaganda organizations like Raising Him Alone and others of their ilk are so dangerous. They don't do anything to resolve the core problems and are attempting to put a cork over a dam break. We have no idea if the Obama health care plan will pass or what the state of the economy will be. We must be prepared. Everyone will not be saved but you can save yourself.