Since its debut last month, Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story on Netflix has routinely ranked first among the most-watched programs on the platform. Understandably, there are many unanswered issues surrounding the legendary serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer after a documentary about his confession tapes was released not long after.
If you’re unaware of the term, Jeffrey Dahmer was a serial killer who, according to Biography, frequently targeted gay males of color between 1978 and 1991. He frequently took pictures of the men while mutilating their dead bodies, had sex with their corpses, and collected macabre mementos, including severed heads and female genitalia. Even after they died, he reportedly ate portions of their bodies.
Everyone can get a brief insight into the lives of the real people impacted by Dahmer’s atrocities through the limited series and docuseries, including his victims, neighbors like Glenda Cleveland, his father Lionel, stepmother Shari, brother David, and grandmother.
Lionel and Joyce Dahmer raised Dahmer before he was assassinated in prison in 1994. Joyce tended to be far more reserved about his son’s crimes than Lionel, who has spoken out about them frequently and even wrote a book about them.
What happened to Joyce Dahmer, and who is she, then? What you should know is as follows.
Who is Joyce Dahmer?
Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer’s biological mother is Joyce Dahmer. In his 1994 book A Father’s Tale, her ex-husband Lionel Dahmer, also the father of Jeffrey, said that Joyce experienced difficult pregnancies with Jeffrey and his younger brother David. She experienced muscle stiffness (along with other symptoms) during those pregnancies, for which phenobarbital and morphine were administered, he claimed.
She went by “Rocky.”
Although Joyce is referred to as “Rocky” in a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article and other news reports, there is no explanation for why this was her nickname.
Afterward, Joyce substituted “Flint” for “Dahmer” as her last name.
She struggled with mental illness.
Joyce’s mental health issues were shown in the limited series in stressful and chaotic moments. Although it’s unknown how much of the portrayal was based on reality, Lionel does mention in his book that Joyce experienced postpartum psychosis following the birth of David. If you’ve never heard of it, postpartum psychosis is a rare disorder that can appear after birth.
According to a report published in The National Library of Medicine, the illness impacted one to two out of every 1000 women in 2018 and frequently necessitates medical treatment.
The following are examples of symptoms, per the Mayo Clinic:
- Disorientation and confusion
- Baby-related obsession Delusions and hallucinations
- disruptions in sleep
- Overactive and agitated energy
- Efforts to hurt oneself or one’s child
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, psychiatrists had told her that Rocky was not to blame for what her son became, but she had always questioned.
According to the United Press International, Joyce attempted suicide in 1994 as she struggled with her mental health even after her son’s misdeeds came to light. According to the publication, Joyce turned on her gas oven and left the door open. She was unconscious at home, next to a will and a letter. After being transferred there, she made a full recovery.
According to the United Press International, Joyce had intended to give everything she owned to her younger son David in her will even though Jeffrey was still alive at the time of her suicide attempt.
She and Lionel divorced in the 70s.
According to HITC, Joyce and Lionel divorced in 1978, when Jeffrey received his high school diploma. David, who was 12 years old at the time, was given to Joyce, while Jeffrey continued to live with his father because he was almost done with high school. Jeffrey killed his first victim around this time.
Joyce believed her son was a ‘victim of a compulsion.’
Jeffrey was a “victim of a habit, an obsession,” Joyce claimed in a 1993 interview with Hard Copy.
“I am aware, intellectually, that I was a good father. I was aware that Jeff couldn’t be the source of this; mothers are still to blame, “She spoke.
Jeffrey ought to have had access to care, according to Joyce. “He is not a horror. He is an individual. And I believe he needs assistance “, she reportedly said.
She spoke to Jeffrey when he was in prison.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Joyce spoke to her incarcerated son at least once a week before he passed away in 1994.
At one point, she stated, “I questioned him, ‘Do you still have these urges?'” “Yeah, Mum, I’m so glad I’m locked up,” he said. If I weren’t in jail, I’d be worried about what I may do.
She wanted his brain studied.
Joyce told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Jeffrey “always emphasized that, if he could be of any help, he wanted to do whatever he could,” which led her to assume that there were biological causes for Jeffrey’s acts. Joyce, therefore, desired to donate his brain for future research.
After he was killed by another prisoner, Christopher Scarver, Jeffrey’s brain was preserved in formaldehyde. Still, Lionel preferred that the rest of his body be burned, according to the Los Angeles Times. His brain was burned in cremation in December 1995.
At one point, she planned to live with her son David.
According to TODAY, Joyce revealed to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that she intended to move in with David (who was going by a different name at the time), residing in another Midwest city. Her finances had been struggling, and she didn’t make much money at her job. In 1996, her Fresno house also entered foreclosure.
Where is she now?
According to Deseret News, Joyce died in 2000 due to breast cancer. At the time of her passing, Joyce was the founder of “The Living Room,” a Fresno, California, HIV community center, and a case manager for the Central Valley AIDS Team.
“Everyone admired her. She would go above and beyond for her clients and anyone in general. Director Julio Mastro of the Living Room told the newspaper, “She was just this amazing lady.
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