Parricide - The Murder of a Blood Relation
What is parricide? It is the murder of one’s close relative, particularly one’s father and/or mother. The term can also refer to the perpetrator who committed the crime. Parricide is one of several forms of family homicide..
Compared with other types of homicide, cases of parricide in the United States are infrequent, comprising of only about 2% of all homicide cases in a year. Patricide, the act of killing one’s father, is one form of parricide and makes up less than 1% of homicides in the US annually. Matricide, which is the murder of one’s mother, on the other hand makes up even less.
It is perhaps this infrequency in occurence that the topic of parricide is not very well explored and many studies on parricide are simply based on clinical case studies. It’s been suggested that there are 4 major kinds of parricide:
The Psychology Behind Parricide
Almost all cases of parricide involve some form of mental disorder with varying degrees on the part of the offender, and most perpetrators of parricide are victims of extreme child abuse. Thus, parricide perpetrators usually have a neurotic relationship with the victims.
All the same, studies suggest that there are 3 types of children who commit parricide:
It is worthy to note that almost half of children who commit parricide had already previously attacked their victims.
While most parricide offenders are males, statistics show that most victims of parricide are males as well, regardless of the sex of the perpetrator. The figures also suggest that cases with male offenders and female victims are the rarest type of parricide.
Parricide in History
In the Roman empire, parricide is considered as one of the most heinous crimes a person can commit. The Roman culture gave due importance to a person’s “public self” which pertains to one’s role and heirarchy in the society.
A person’s family defines his/her place in the Roman soceity as well as his/her allegiances. Thus, to kill one’s family member is in a way a form of rejection of one’s place in the society.
The crime of parricide even becomes more horrendous if the victim is the father. Family patriarchs in the Roman culture hold absolute legal and cultural authority over their families. Daughters were under the rule of their fathers until they marry while sons are under their fathers’ rule for the rest of their lives.
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