Comparison of honor killings to anti-LGBTQ homicides

Date08 October 2018
Published date08 October 2018
AuthorTri Keah Henry,Brittany E. Hayes,Joshua D. Freilich,Steven Chermak
Subject MatterHealth & social care,Criminology & forensic psychology,Aggression, conflict & peace,Sociology,Gender studies,Gender violence,Political sociology, policy & social change,Social conflicts,War/peace
Comparison of honor killings to
anti-LGBTQ homicides
Tri Keah Henry, Brittany E. Hayes, Joshua D. Freilich and Steven Chermak
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to compare the role honor and shame play in honor killings and
anti-LGBTQ homicides by identifying similarities and differences across these two homicide types.
Design/methodology/approach This study uses data from the US Extremist Crime Database (ECDB).
Data for each of the incidents included in the ECDB are gathered from various open sources through a
multi-stage process. A total of 16 honor killings and 21 anti-LGBTQ cases (i.e. the universe for both
groups) are examined in this analysis. A closed-coded analysis technique is utilized to assess each case for
evidence of shame and honor as well as an iterative coding process to identify sub-categories within these
broader themes.
Findings Results indicate that shame and honor play important roles in both honor killings and anti-LGBTQ
homicides, although their influence manifests differently across these two types of homicide. Perceived
shame to the family is most closely related to honor killings, while suppressing homosexual urges underlines
anti-LGBTQ homicides. Violations of religious tenets, protection of masculinity, and protection of honor are
evidenced in both types of homicide.
Originality/value This study uses a unique database to examine the ideological motivations of individuals
who perpetrate extremist crimes in comparison to those who commit honor killings. Findings may inform
forensic practices, including rehabilitation and prevention programs.
Keywords LGBTQ, Intimate partner violence, Extremism, Hate homicide, Honor killings,
Violence against women
Paper type Research paper
Since September 11, bias-motivated crimes and extremism have received increased attention.
Researchers have paid attention to extremist offending, notably left-wing, far-right, and
homegrown Islamist jihadists. While left-wing and single issue groups were dominant in the
1960s and 1980s, they were less active in the 1990s and 2000s. During this period, left-wing
extremists rarely engaged in violent acts against persons. Far-right and jihadist extremists have
been more deadly than left-wing and single issue groups (Freilich, 2003; Kaplan, 1995;
Smith, 1994). Given the emphasis many have placed on understanding this issue, researchers
have lamented the dearth of studies that examine the criminal activities of extremist offenders
(Gruenewald and Pridemore, 2012).
Recently, honor killings have also received increased scholarly attention (Doğan, 2014a, b; Hayes
et al., 2016). However, some have argued that using the term honor killing, rather than domestic
violence or femicide, may create bright boundariesbetween those considered insiders and
outsiders and between immigrants and the majority (Shier and Shor, 2016, p. 1180). Labeling an
incident an honor killing also draws attention away from the broader issue of patriarchy and
maintains hierarchies in social structures. Perry (2001) has argued that both violence against
women and ideologically motivated homicides allow offenders to maintain dominance and
power. It is unclear though if honor killings are similar to homicides motivated by an extremist
ideology that have previously been shown to be premised on the notion of honor and maintaining
a sense of dominance.
Received 27 September 2017
Revised 14 December 2017
21 December 2017
Accepted 22 December 2017
Tri Keah Henry is Graduate
Research Assistant at the
George J. Beto Criminal Justice
Center, Sam Houston State
University, Huntsville, Texas,
Brittany E. Hayes is Assistant
Professor at the Department of
Criminal Justice and
Criminology, Sam Houston
State University, Huntsville,
Texas, USA.
Joshua D. Freilich is Professor
at the Criminal Justice
Department and Criminal
Justice PhD Program, John Jay
College of Criminal Justice,
New York, New York, USA.
Steven Chermak is Professor at
the School of Criminal Justice,
Michigan State University, East
Lansing, Michigan, USA.
VOL. 10 NO. 4 2018, pp.272-282, © Emerald Publishing Limited, ISSN 1759-6599 DOI 10.1108/JACPR-09-2017-0318

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