Gender differences in the perception of honour killing were investigated in two countries, both traditionally considered honour cultures but with differing degrees of individualism and collectivism: Italy and Turkey.

Ninety-six Turkish undergraduate students attending Istanbul University (40 % males, mean age = 21.2 years) and 68 Italian undergraduate students attending Turin University (34 % males, mean age = 24.6 years) filled in a questionnaire which assessed the perception of three honour killing scenarios (scenario 1: alleged adultery, scenario 2: adultery, scenario 3: adultery in flagrante delicto). The questionnaire measured the attribution of assailant and victim responsibility, the proposed punishment for the assailant, and the evaluation of the incidents as crimes. Results showed that regardless gender Turkish participants attributed more responsibility to the victim and less responsibility to the assailant, and proposed less severe punishments than the Italian participants. Moreover, Turkish men attributed less responsibility to the assailant and proposed less severe punishments than Turkish women.

Finally, there was an interaction of gender by culture by scenario: Turkish women attributed less responsibility to the victim in the case of alleged adultery, compared to their male counterparts. These results are discussed in terms of the complex interaction between gender roles and the individualist versus collectivist social organization of Italy and Turkey, and the profound social changes that both countries have undergone in recent decades.

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