Nr XXXV (2013)

Kulturowa przemoc ze względu na płeć. Przypadek zabójstw na tle honoru

Agnieszka Gutkowska
Uniwersytet Warszawski

Opublikowane 2013-01-01

Słowa kluczowe

  • przemoc wobec kobiet,
  • przestępstwa kulturowe,
  • zabójstwa honorowe,
  • culture violence,
  • honour killings

Jak cytować

Gutkowska, A. (2013). Kulturowa przemoc ze względu na płeć. Przypadek zabójstw na tle honoru. Archiwum Kryminologii, (XXXV), 137–160.


Crimes related to the offender's cultural background are exceptional, and require special attention in many ways. Firstly, they come as far more shocking than the “typical” offences in a given society, due to their peculiar and infrequent nature. Secondly, as they are so much specific, they pose a serious challenge for law enforcement bodies, and it may seem that they are a significant problem for courts, who must face foreign and often culturally obscure situations and behaviour. This is also an important challenge for researchers, who try their best to define and, most of all, understand the mechanisms leading to such type of crime. The article discusses the specificity of honour killing, characterises the perpetrators and victims, and clarifies the motivational process of perpetrators, who often find themselves entangled in obligations enforced by cultural norms in a degree comparable to what their victims experience. The paper is also an attempt at analysis of the thesis widely found in the literature claiming that abuse towards women (irrespective of their cultural background and creed) stems from the patriarchal social structure, and should not be associated with any particular cultural system . The article claims that in order to properly analyse honour killing cases and create a possibly most effective system of preventing and countering the phenomenon, the expressions and sources of violence against women in different cultures must be precisely and unequivocally defined, and so must be the perpetrators' motivation. This clear division is necessary at the terminological level, to start with. This is why the article introduces the notion of “culture specific gender based violence”. Gender based violence itself is too broad a term to define such polarised cases as economic abuse of a wife by a husband, battering, or even marital rape and honour killing. Classifying honour killings as gender-based violence only, without precise identification of the sources behind such violence, is a dangerous practice, as - in consequence - opinions emerge equalising infringement of women's rights in the western world with those experienced in honour-based cultures or Muslim societies . The claim that women suffer the same violence regardless of culture or creed is not true. There is a dramatic difference between Christian background cultures, which nurture basic human rights, and honour cultures or Muslim communities, in the manner they treat women, and in the extent of socially accepted repression if they infringe the norms. What is even more, without changing the cultural rules or interpretation of religious rules, the position of women who are facing honour killings cannot improve. This is due to the fact that it is the culture and religion, or to be more precise, some elements of those, or instrumental use of those, that are at the source of this type of violence.


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