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It takes a very warped, twisted individual to become a serial killer. In most cases, you can tell when someone's a serial killer in the making because of warning signs. However, for every killer that murders a slew of victims, there's another would-be criminal who decides against a murder spree.
No one really knows the final trigger that makes someone change from a tortured soul into a soulless murderer. However, there are some suspected causes.
Studies have shown that serious abuse, particularly when it is doled out as sexual abuse, tends to be one of the deciding factors on what causes a person to be a killer. A lot of serial killers that were sexually abused have claimed that the abuse had something to do with their abused pasts.
It's food for thought, definitely. Could the following killers really have had their minds warped due to sexual abuse?
During his rampage, Albert DeSalvo was known as the Boston Strangler. Ruthless and cruel, DeSalvo would go on to strangle 13 women to death during his killing spree. His crimes were known for being sexual in nature, so it's not surprising that he's one of the many serial killers that were sexually abused.
The abuse DeSalvo suffered was actually pretty horrific; his father sold him as a sex slave during his early childhood.
Aileen Wuornos is one of the most famous female serial killers in history, and she was notorious for hating men. Wuornos killed seven men while working as a prostitute, and by the time she was arrested, became totally unhinged.
Few serial killers that were sexually abused had as bad luck as Aileen Wuornos. At age 11, she was offering sexual services for cigarettes. By age 14, she had fallen pregnant with her own grandfather's offspring. That wasn't a mis-type, by the way: her grandfather really raped her.
All things considered, it's understandable why Wuornos killed men she believed sexually assaulted her.
During the 90s, Chicago was a terrifying place to be. Women were getting raped and killed by a random person. Around 11 women fell prey to a single killer that prowled the area.
That person ended up being Andre Crawford, and yes, he is one of many serial killers that were sexually abused. Later on, Crawford would admit that he had foster parents who sexually abused him.
Known as one of the youngest serial killers in history, Mary Bell was first indicted for the murder of two children when she was just 11 years old. After her crime, Mary Bell served 12 years in prison and was released after being rehabilitated.
Like others on this list, the sexual abuse Bell was exposed to was seriously messed up. Bell later admitted that she was being sold as a child sex slave. Her mother, a prostitute, would pass her around to clients for extra cash—and did so while Bell was as young as four.
Considering that Mary Bell's own mother rejected her and tried to kill her, it's not that surprising that she would end up becoming violent at such a young age.
Not all of the serial killers that were sexually assaulted were from English-speaking countries. Pedro Lopez, who was arrested for killing around 80 women around Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador. (Lopez's unofficial number is much higher, at 300.)
Lopez was both a sexual abuser and an abused victim. He was kicked out of his mother's home for abusing his little sister. He was repeatedly raped by men in his life, including a guardian and a schoolteacher that he had to study underneath.
The original inspiration for Leatherface and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Ed Gein hits the top of any list of the most famous serial killers that were sexually abused by their mothers.
Gein's mother was notoriously abusive, codependent, and narcissistic. She isolated him and punished him whenever he tried to make friends. Following her death, Gein decided to act out his urges using his mother's dead body.
Charles Manson had a lot of problems dealing with his mother, but it's not fully certain what really went on with him. His mother has accused him of lying, and the evidence is very little.
However, on his own account, he claims he's one of the many serial killers that were sexually assaulted when they were young. According to Manson himself, his mother was a hard alcoholic who would occasionally sell him for a pitcher of beer.
John Wayne Gacy
Not many killers had as terrible a reputation for gruesome ends as John Wayne Gacy did. 33 men, possibly more, died at his hands. Police even found the bodies in his basement, after a victim warned them of what Gacy was doing.
John Wayne Gacy was definitely no stranger to abuse—physical, verbal, or sexual. It's a very well known fact that Gacy's father was a hard alcoholic who would beat all of his children with a belt but would focus on Gacy the most.
Most media makes a point of talking about the physical abuse Gacy endured by his father, and how it made him want to dress up as Pogo the Clown. When he was "Pogo," he felt like he was giving kids joy he never experienced during childhood.
However, what most mainstream media doesn't talk about is the fact that Gacy was one of the myriad of serial killers that were sexually abused. According to Gacy, the abuser wasn't his parents, but a neighbor who was close to his parents.
A lot of serial killers that were sexually abused had prostitute parents who sold them to clients, but not Henry Lucas. His mother was a sex worker who somehow managed to do even worse. She forced him to watch her with clients and also forced him to wear women's clothing as a child.
Henry Lucas claimed to kill 3,000 people. 11 confirmed kills exist linked to him. It's safe to say that his childhood probably had something to do with his murders.
Donald Henry Gaskins
Last but not least, Donald Henry Gaskins also happened to be one of the more prolific serial killers that were sexually abused as children. His tale started off with a mother rejecting him, loads of neglect, and serious physical abuse.
Unsurprisingly, he became a juvenile delinquent who lashed out violently against others. He was sent to a reformatory school, where he was repeatedly raped by teachers who were present. Having spent most of his life abused, Gaskins lashed out by killing 9 women, though the number of killings could be as high as 100.