Who Supports Honor-Based Violence in the Middle East? Findings From a National Survey of Kuwait
This study reports findings from what is, to the authors' knowledge, the first nationally representative survey of public attitudes toward honor-based violence (HBV) in a Middle East country affected by such violence, and one of very few if any such national surveys undertaken in any context. In a telephone survey of 1,050 adult citizens of the Arab Gulf state of Kuwait, we collect attitudinal and behavioral measures of support for HBV. Facilitated by vignettes, item order randomization, and other survey best practices designed to reduce social desirability bias, the survey measures both support for HBV in principle and support for legislation permitting it. We also assess the correlates of views toward honor-based crimes, including demographic attributes (age, sex, and education), social indicators (economic status, religiosity, and tribal attachment), and political indicators (political interest, engagement, and ideology). These unique data permit investigation into the individual-level predictors of support for HBV among citizens of a country that has experience with HBV and laws that afford reduced punishment for perpetrators of honor killing. Results reveal, first, considerable levels of public support in Kuwait for HBV. Half of citizens report agreement that physical violence is justified as punishment for female adultery, whereas a third of both men and women say they would support a law permitting violence against a female adulterer. The strongest positive predictors of individual support for HBV are tribal attachment, religiosity, and support for political Islam. Surprisingly perhaps, permissive views of HBV are most likely among the youngest generation of Kuwaitis. The findings have important implications for understanding the factors that help explain the existence and persistence of HBV in the Middle East, in Islamic contexts, and elsewhere where it occurs.
- Social & Economic Survey Research Institute Research [171 items ]