Killing of the Houston children

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  • #10670

    Alma31465
    Participant

    The case of the Houston mother accused of systematically murdering her five children has touched off a heated debate in our workplace. One group (mostly men) contest in no uncertain terms that she deserves the death penalty. But a few women question whether her actions are the result of eight years of forced back-to-back pregnancies by a husband who ‘wanted six children.’ I found several stories stating the father wanted a large family, but no mention of the mother’s desire for that many children. Several women have voiced in private that while the murders are horrible, they can understand the emotion the mother professes to have endured and can understand resentment for being forced to be a ‘brood mare’ for a husband. My feelings on this are mixed, but I don’t think the whole issue is being addressed by the media. I’m interested in hearing from professionals who work in spouse abuse or family crisis settings. Could there be another side to this story that is not being told?

    User Detail :  

    Name : Alma31465, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Lesbian, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Methodist, Age : 48, City : Kempner, State : TX Country : United States, Occupation : Government employee, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Lower middle class, 
    #24047

    Rick29916
    Participant

    I don’t believe in the death penalty, but if she didn’t want all those kids, all she had to do was leave the guy before getting pregnant. Or get Norplant. It might be hard to leave certain situations, but harder than killing your own children? No.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Rick29916, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Atheist, City : Springfield, State : OH Country : United States, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #38899

    Justin27075
    Participant

    I say the systematic murder of five children is the systematic murder of five children. If you want to bring identity politics into it, consider if the mother were black. Do you suppose she would even have five children long enough to kill them before the Department of Children and Family Services stopped by, saw a pile of dirty dishes in the sink and took them all away? As a women’s issue, I do see the point about the ‘brood mare.’ Perhaps this could’ve been one of those cases in which skipping town and being a deadbeat mom would’ve been justifiable, but murder is not.

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    Name : Justin27075, Gender : M, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Atheist, City : Chicago, State : IL Country : United States, Education level : 2 Years of College, Social class : Lower middle class, 
    #30865

    Babette
    Member

    I think the killings of the children is not that simple a thing at all.The mother had suffered serious after-birth depression,which led her to do what she did.It is considered a serious mental disorder.She was out of her mind,it was not up to her to leave the husband or anything like that.In her sick mind this was the only resolution.I know many cases where women who were perfectly well and happy before the birth,have abandoned their newborns and sunk in to deep depression and even behaved violently towards their babies.This woman is sick.Too bad nobody could not help her before it was too late.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Babette, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Bisexual, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Agnostic, Age : 22, City : Helsinki, State : NA Country : Finland, Occupation : Office worker, Education level : High School Diploma, 
    #16663

    Carter32391
    Participant

    What if it were a man? Nobody would wring their hands about killing him. Men don’t have a choice in childbirth if the understanding before intercourse was that neither of them wanted a baby. A woman ‘accidentally’ forgets to take her pill and ‘oops!’ The man’s tied to her for the rest of his life, even though he made it clear he didn’t want children. Don’t even bellyache about it, you know it happens. Here in Washington State, a man can be ordered to pay child support even if it’s been proven the child isn’t his. I strongly believe children should be wanted, loved and cared for by both married parents. I, however, don’t want any children, and have made it a point to prevent it.

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    Name : Carter32391, Gender : M, Religion : Wiccan, City : Seattle, State : WA Country : United States, 
    #19778

    Jeff
    Member

    I agree that the husband in this case drove the woman into a severe state of depression. Unfortunately, that’s not a crime. The woman allowed herself to be put in the position she was in until she snapped, and she must take responsibility for that. Let her plead insanity and get the help she sorely needs. The husband has no legal responsibility in these murders that I can see, and will never really understand the pain he caused. Such is our legal system, where the letter of the law doesn’t always hit the nail square on the head.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Jeff, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Gay, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Atheist, Age : 33, City : San Francisco, State : CA Country : United States, Occupation : Software Tester, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Upper middle class, 
    #34347

    H
    Participant

    There is an ingrained belief that all mothers should love their children unconditionally, and that this comes naturally. I don’t believe this. Mothers have to learn to love and respect their children through good and bad stages. Someone with no support network and six children would, I presume, find this natural love even more strenuous. If she didn’t feel entirely devoted all the time, then the emphasis would be on a failure on her part, not a lack of help. Is this really fair? Because of the same beliefs, it is also seen as the worst crime possible for a mother to kill her own children or any child, for that matter, seeing as women are natural carers. Because of this, they face the harshest punishment, when surely they need help. If it were the father, no doubt we would think he was evil, but would the same emphasis and debate be held? I don’t believe so.

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    Name : H, Age : 24, City : London, State : NA Country : United Kingdom, 
    #45568

    Cat
    Member

    One of the factors often mentioned, but not fully explored or understood on this issue, is the role of depression in this mother’s actions. The incidence of depression is much higher in women than in men. I can’t really begin to go into the reasons for this, but they range from fluctuating hormone levels, to the inferior and dependent roles that women are still forced to play in a male-dominated, competitive society. A combination of these could have affected this women’s state of mind, and relate significantly to the possibility of her feeling herself to be a ‘brood mare,’ as you put it.

    My point, really, is this: No one who hasn’t been genuinely, severely, clinically depressed can possibly understand what this condition does to your processes of logic and reasoning. It’s not just a state of deep sadness or anxiety, it leads to a total and incomprehensible (to the outsider) distortion of mental processes. I can imagine how a state of severe depression could lead you to believe rationally that killing your children was perfectly acceptable, justified or even for the best. That’s the kind of brutally twisted logic the mind is more than capable of in the depths of a depressive episode. I believe it’s possible that dominance by her husband (perhaps along with the ‘eager-to-please’ mentality common in people prone to depression), destruction of her own self-worth and hormonal problems caused by the birth of her children were at the root of her depressive illness, and that it’s perhaps then understandable why her misery and self-hatred became focused on her children. I’m not saying for a minute that I condone her actions, I’m just putting forward the possibility that there’s far more to be understood about this case and this murderer than whether she should have run away or got Norplant, and I think it would be exceptionally narrow-minded to dismiss her actions as evil by condemning her to die, without trying to untangle the complexity and humanity of her motivations.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Cat, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Buddhist, Age : 23, City : Leeds, State : NA Country : United Kingdom, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Lower middle class, 
    #18692

    Wcoghill
    Participant

    My understanding is that Andrea Yates was psychotic — not just depressed. This means that she was not experiencing the normal reality that you and I do. Even apparently rational judgements by her would not be truly rational — just rational when viewed through the specifics of her alternate reality. This is true even if the actions might seem normal to us– the realities might just coincide in this area. For example, even if psychotic, she might still make breakfast for the family every day (everyone has to eat in any reality). Its where the reality diverges that we have problems. No, I dont think she should get the death penalty. I dont feel she should have been found guilty either — in this country you can be found Not Guilty by reason of insanity — and she was insane.

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    Name : Wcoghill, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : Black/African American, Religion : Baptist, Age : 41, City : Parsippany, State : NJ Country : United States, Occupation : Marketing, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, 
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