Men, Misogyny, and Murder-Suicide

A new post at Role/Reboot today: Are Most Murder-Suicides Acts of Misogyny? Excerpt:

Though I remember only bits and pieces of the night I tried to kill my girlfriend and myself, I do remember that I felt no anger toward her or anyone else. Instead, I remember thinking that the drugs were giving me the courage to do something heroic for both of us. We had both tried suicide many times before; we were both addicts; we were both struggling with devastating depression. I remember thinking that I didn’t want to die alone; I wanted to walk into whatever lies beyond with someone I loved and trusted. And I remember thinking that deep inside, she wanted me to be strong and to do this for us. In other words, I appointed myself a White Knight to save her.

What binds together all male perpetrators of murder-suicide—there are a handful of very rare cases, such as the murder of Phil Hartman, where women kill their lovers and then themselves—is the grandiose sense that another person’s life is ours to take. Belcher may have been motivated by rage and pain and traumatic brain injury, while I was driven by a bizarre sense that I was carrying out a merciful act, but in the end our assumptions were the same: We got to make the call about who lived and who died. This is what makes murder-suicide an inherently misogynist act: It’s based on a man’s assumption that a woman’s body belongs to him. That’s as true when it’s motivated by a perverse chivalry as when it’s driven by hate.

Men who attempt murder-suicide are, like all domestic abusers, in great pain themselves. Killing themselves at the same time or shortly after they’ve taken the lives of their partners is often about expiating guilt and diverting the rage of survivors. We live in a culture where we’re trained to be sympathetic to the depressed and the self-destructive; committing suicide (especially in the very public way Belcher did) is a way of demanding sympathy and understanding. Alas; that strategy too often works.

Read the whole thing.

2 thoughts on “Men, Misogyny, and Murder-Suicide

  1. Pingback: Here comes The Honey Boo Boo Project | mnemonic

  2. Pingback: Here comes The Honey Boo Boo Project | A Voice for Men

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