An Exploratory Analysis of Whether Offender Gender Matters
Femicide, the murder of females (most often at the hands of males), is an understudied area in homicide research. Furthermore, femicide perpetrated by females has been all but ignored. One reason this may be is because of the rarity of homicide victimization perpetrated by females. Rather, most homicide incidents consist of a male offender and a male victim. When a homicide does involve a female, either as a victim or as an offender, the other party implicated is generally a male. The primary goal of the proposed study is to provide an in-depth, albeit exploratory, examination of female-perpetrated femicide. Using homicide data taken from the Dallas Homicide Unit, 403 cases of femicide will be analyzed, with special attention devoted to comparing female-perpetrated femicide incidents (n = 39) against male-perpetrated femicide incidents (n = 364). Specifically, the current study will explore the similarities and differences in sociodemographic characteristics of victims and suspects, offense characteristics, and offense circumstances. Contrary to what was expected, results, at first glance, seem to suggest an overwhelming similarity between femicide suspects and victims, irrespective of gender. However, when the relationship between victim and suspect is considered, distinct differences appear. Implications from these findings as well as limitations and suggestions for further research are discussed.