The man who attacked Westminster shared a hatred for women with other mass murderers
We may never know what went through the mind of the perpetrator of last week’s attack in Westminster, London. That’s the opinion of the police who have been investigating why Khalid Masood, born Adrian Elms, drove a car into dozens of pedestrians, stormed into the Parliament and stabbed a policeman, leaving four people dead and at least 50 injured.
I am struck by one thing we do know about him: a history of perpetrating domestic violence against his wives and partners.
In the record of notorious attackers, he shares this feature with his heinous peers. Because if there is one thing that has become clear in their histories, it is that violence against women is an embedded feature of their lives long before they set out on their inglorious ends.
A relative of one of Masood’s former wives said that he was "very violent towards her, controlling in every aspect of her life – what she wore, where she went, everything".
Last year, Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel killed more than 80 people when he drove a lorry into a crowd in Nice, France. He had a history of domestic violence.
The former wife of Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people in a Florida nightclub, last June reported that "he would just come home and start beating me up because the laundry wasn’t finished".
Before anyone cries that this is about Muslims or Islamist ideologies, let’s be clear: this misogynistic world view cuts across all religions, backgrounds and classes. Whatever the background of such men, domestic violence abuse is a clear factor in their histories. In some cases, the atrocities they perpetrate are even announced as revenge on feminists.