When the names of serial killers and their criminal actions are broadcasted to the public conscious, people tend to focus on what rests on the surface. They gather their own conclusions about the murderer, labeling them as “evil” or “monsters,” and depict them in an animalistic manner, which removes all aspects they possess that alludes to their humanity. Nevertheless, when people devote their time in scrutinizing the specifics of cases, they’ll stumble upon the indubitable truth of serial killers: they are individuals with psychological/biological issues, traumatic pasts, or a distorted perception of reality, which leads them to carry out their violent and immoral tendencies.
This is relative to the examination of Jeffrey Dahmer, who was an American serial killer, notoriously known for murdering 17 men through the years of 1978 and 1991. His criminal record exhibits unscrupulous conduct, where he killed, raped, pierced, eviscerated, and ate multiple bodies, keeping their remains around different areas of his apartment, like his refrigerator. Dahmer’s murderous spree indicates a man’s deprivation of morality, however, it can be interpreted through criminology theories, such as attachment theory, general strain theory, and psychodynamic Theory, which all look at his past experiences and his childhood development to elucidate the reasons behind his criminal patterns.
On May 21, 1960, Jeffrey Dahmer was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and later grew up to be an infamous serial murderer. His first kill was committed in the summer of 1978, shortly three weeks after his high school graduation. Being left alone for the day and tormented with his sadistic reveries, Dahmer felt inclined to invite the 19-year-old hitchhiker, Steve Hicks, back to his home for a couple of drinks. After they engaged in sexual activities, Hicks attempted to leave, which promoted Dahmer to hit the man on the back of his head with a barbell and thus, ending his life. In order to hide the evidence, Dahmer resorted to cutting up the hitchhiker’s body into pieces, putting them into garbage bags, and then burying them in his backyard.
This was the genesis Dahmer’s future endeavours as a criminal, as he didn’t attack another person again until nine years later in September 1987. His second victim was named Steven Tuomi, who Dahmer met at a local gay bar, where he invited him over back to his house to have sex. When waking up from his drunken night before, Dahmer found the young man dead and soon shoved his body into a suitcase. Before butchering the body, he satisfied his necrophilic fantasies by having non-participative sex with it. After he was done, he would store the body somewhere hidden, which became the pattern for the remainder of his killings, as his sexual desires and his fascinations with death became his motivation to continue.
This system of behavior did not stem from a random occurrence, but from Dahmer’s past experiences, which caused him to develop a troubled mind. Therefore, the first place to look in his situation is the relationship he held with his parents. It is conventional for serial killers to endure physical or sexual abuse as children, however, Dahmer was endowed with parents who did not assault him, yet he felt neglected by them. As a consequence of this, his feeling of psychological abandonment produced a tension on Dahmer’s relationship with his parents, leaving him emotionally unattached to them both. “According to psychologist John Bowlby’s attachment theory, the ability to form an emotional bond to another person has important psychological implications that follow people across the life span,”