Above: Terri-Lynne McClintic
Below: Karla Homolka
In the days since Michael Thomas Rafferty's first degree murder conviction, nearly every major Canadian news outlet has rushed to make comparisons between the case of Rafferty and his ex-lover, Terri-Lynne McClintic, and that of notorious serial rape and murder monsters Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka.
As far as female offenders go, women like Homolka and McClintic are extremely rare according to popular science. When FBI profiler Roy Hazelwood and psychiatrist Janet Warren completed their famous study, they spoke to only 20 women; incarcerated former wives, girlfriends, and lovers of sexual sadists. Of the 20 women studied, only seven (including Homolka) had directly acted or assisted in sexual homicides, and four were actually present during the murders and convicted as accomplices.
What makes Karla Homolka such an unusual character is the fact that one of the girls she raped was her own little sister, Tammy, who died as a result of the attack.
Terri-Lynne McClintic is something of an anomaly, as well, with respect to all the research that has been conducted on women who kill in tandem with their sexual partners. According to the Hazelwood/Warren study, an astounding 85% of women studied had come from stable and supportive families, and had no prior troubles with the law before meeting their predator partners. Further, only four of the 20 women reported problems with alcohol or drugs, suicide attempts, or mental health issues prior to becoming involved with a sexual sadist.
Perhaps what one should take from these seemingly incongruent statistics regarding women who assist violent sexual offenders is to shift focus away from grappling with why these otherwise "normal" women end up committing unspeakable acts alongside their partners, and to allow ourselves as a society to come to terms with the fact that these women do exist, and for reasons unknown chose to commit the ultimate sin.
The Canadian Press (May 13, 2012)
The Toronto Star (May 14, 2012)