Murder with Impunity: The Construction of Arab Masculinities and Honor Crimes



How to Cite

Jaber, M. A. (1). Murder with Impunity: The Construction of Arab Masculinities and Honor Crimes. Al-Raida Journal, 38-45.


Violence against women (VAW) continues to exist as a pervasive, structural,
systematic, and institutionalized violation of women’s basic human rights (UN
Division of Advancement for Women, 2006). It cuts across the boundaries of age, race, class, education, and religion which affect women of all ages and all backgrounds in every corner of the world. Such violence is used to control and subjugate women by instilling a sense of insecurity that keeps them “bound to the home, economically exploited and socially suppressed” (Mathu, 2008, p. 65). It is estimated that one out of every five women worldwide will be abused during her lifetime with rates reaching up to 70 percent in some countries (WHO, 2005). Whether this abuse is perpetrated by the state and its agents, by family members, or even by strangers, VAW is closely related to the regulation of sexuality in a gender specific (patriarchal) manner. This regulation is, on the one hand, maintained through the implementation of strict cultural, communal, and religious norms, and on the other hand, through particular legal measures that sustain these norms. Therefore, religious institutions, the media, the family/tribe, cultural networks, and the legal system continually discipline
women’s sexuality and punish those women (and in some instances men) who have transgressed or allegedly contravened the social boundaries of ‘appropriateness’ as delineated by each society. Such women/men may include lesbians/gays, women who appear ‘too masculine’ or men who appear ‘too feminine,’ women who try to exercise their rights freely or men who do not assert their rights as ‘real men’ should, women/men who have been sexually assaulted or raped, and women/men who challenge male/older male authority.


Abdul Salam, S. (2005). Crimes of honor as violence against women in Egypt. In L. Wellchman & S. Hossain (Eds.), Honour: Crimes, paradigms, and violence against women (pp.138-142). NY: Zed Books Ltd.

Abou Zaid, A. (1966). Honour and shame among the Bedouins in Egypt. In J. George (Ed.), The nature of human society (pp. 245-259). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Abu-Odeh, L. (1996). Crimes of honour and the construction of gender in Arab societies. In M. Yamani (Ed.), Feminism and Islam: Legal and literary perspectives, (pp. 141-194). Reading: Ithaca Press.

Abu-Odeh, L. (2000). Crimes of honour and the construction of gender in Arab society. In Pinar Ilkkaracan (Ed.), Women and sexuality in Muslim society (pp. 363-380). Istanbul: Women for Women’s Human Rights.

Accad, E. (2008). Honor related violence and patriarchy: Honor stronger than life. Retrieved August 8, 2011, from

Ali, Y. (2008). Honor, the state, and its implications: An examination of honor killing in Jordan and the efforts of local activists. Retrieved August 9, 2011, from handle/10415/1129/Ali_Yazmin_52.pdf?sequence=1

Araji, S. K. & Carlson, J. (2001). Family violence including crimes of honor in Jordan: Correlates and

perceptions of seriousness. Violence Against Women, 7(5), 586- 621.

Awwad, A. M. (2002). Gossip, scandal, shame and honor killing: A case for social constructionism and hegemonic discourse. Social Thought & Research, 24, 39-52. Retrieved August 2nd, 2011, from

Baker, C. (2009). Expressions of the body: Representations in African text and image. Bern: International Academic Publishers.

Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. (2008). Human rights report :Jordan. Retrieved August 10, 2010, from

Centre for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance. (2005). ‘Crimes of honour’ as violence against women in Egypt. In L. Welchman, & S. Hossain (Eds.), ‘Honour’: Crimes, paradigms, and violence against women (pp.137-142). New York: Zed Books Ltd.

Chakrapani, V., Newman P. A., Shunmugam, M., McLuckie, A., & Melwin, F. (2007). Structural violence against kothi-identified men who have sex with men in Chennai, India: A qualitative investigation. The Guilford Press, 19(4), 346–364.

Clark, R. E., Freeman Clark ,J., & Adamec, C. (2007). The encyclopedia of child abuse: Third edition.


Download data is not yet available.