Almost half of boys and one in five girls in Jordan’s capital city, Amman, believe that killing a woman who has “dishonored,” or shamed, her family is justifiable, a study of teenagers’ attitudes published Thursday revealed.
A third of all teenagers involved in the study by researchers at Britain’s Cambridge University advocated so-called honor murders.
A key finding was that support for honor crimes was not connected to religious beliefs, but is far more likely in adolescent boys with low education backgrounds from traditional families.
Professor Manuel Eisner and Cambridge graduate student Lana Ghuneim interviewed more than 850 teenagers, with an average age of 15, for the study, published in the journal Aggressive Behavior.
Honor crimes can include physical assaults, rape, acid attacks and disfigurement, as well as murder.
They can be triggered by a range of acts thought to bring shame on the family, from premarital sex to adultery to pregnancy outside marriage, or even contact by the woman with a man who is not a relation.
The researchers say their study is one of the first to attempt to gauge cultural attitudes about honor murders in the region.
It found that attitudes in support of honor murders “are anchored in a broader system of beliefs about patriarchal authority and dominance, and assumptions about female virginity and chastity.”
This means that any attempt to change views would probably need to tackle the broader cultural support for patriarchal dominance, it said.
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