Please update your browser

You're using a version of Internet Explorer that isn't supported by Questia.
To get a better experience, go to one of these sites and get the latest
version of your preferred browser:

Understanding 'Passion Killings' in Botswana: An Investigation of Media Framing

By Exner, Deinera; Thurston, Wilfreda E. | Journal of International Women's Studies, May 2009 | Go to article overview

Understanding 'Passion Killings' in Botswana: An Investigation of Media Framing


Exner, Deinera, Thurston, Wilfreda E., Journal of International Women's Studies


Abstract

In Botswana, local news media outlets have documented the prevalence of so-called 'passion killings'; however, no published studies have been conducted that examine these intimate partner homicides. Using ethnographic content analysis informed by a theory of framing, this study investigated the characteristics of these crimes, and societal attitudes, myths and stereotypes regarding intimate partner homicides and passion killings. Articles from four Batswana newspapers were analyzed. The information derived from this analysis is used to develop future directions for the study of intimate partner violence and homicides in Botswana.

Keywords: intimate partner homicide; passion killings; Botswana; media flaming

Introduction

Despite increasing attention from the international community, violence against women (VAW) remains a global public health and human rights issue, and continues to impact the physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health of women (Green, 1999; World Health Organization, 2005). According to the World Health Organization (2005), one of the most common forms of VAW is that committed by a male husband or partner. This intimate partner violence (IPV) is not limited to violent acts or threats--intimate partner homicide (IPH) comprises a subset of this violence. In Botswana, a country in sub-Saharan Africa, these homicides are locally referred to as 'passion killings,' and are increasingly prevalent (Alao, 2006). Despite their brutal nature, little attention has been paid to the so-called passion killings in the research literature; however, media reports provide information about, and insight into, these crimes. This study endeavored to investigate the portrayal of IPH and passion killings in Batswana (3) news media, in order to expand understanding of IPV in Botswana.

Intimate Partner Violence in Botswana

Though limited, the published research literature provides some discourse around IPV in Botswana (Becker, 2003; Macdonald, 1996; Maundeni, 2002; McCall & Resick, 2003; Wilson & Daly, 1993). According to this literature, IPV is widespread, and in part stems from the patriarchal gender role system of traditional Tswana culture, (4) where this violence was considered acceptable and commonplace (Macdonald, 1996; Maundeni, 2002). Phaladze and Tlou (2006) identify the important role of past Batswana cultural norms in understanding the current situation of women in Botswana. For example, under Batswana customary law, (5) women were traditionally considered a minor and under their husband's sole guardianship. Though this law no longer stands, it has consequently continued to "entrench women's subordination to men" (Phaldze & Tlou, 2006, p. 27), and must be considered when investigating the prevalence of IPV. Maundeni (2002) continues this discourse in his study of wife abuse in Botswana. In his discussion of the social stigma attached to women experiencing domestic violence, he postulates that among other things, cultural factors not only play a key role in ongoing IPV, but are also primary reasons why women stay in abusive relationships; that is, women are socialized to accept their inferior status in society and their subordination to men. Several authors emphasize the importance of recognizing the impact of conservative gender norms on cultural acceptability of partner abuse in patriarchal societies; in Botswana, as in other sub-Saharan African countries, women's violation of these norms is seen as justification for the perpetration of IPV (Maundeni, 2002; Rani, Bonu, & Diop-Sidibe, 2004).

Only one published study was found to discuss the trend of passion killings in Botswana. According to Alao (2006), passion killings are "viewed as a sign of patriarchal crisis" (p. 341), and are "directed at females, where either a husband or boyfriend decides to kill the female partner" (p. 341). Again, the role of patriarchy is emphasized.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Understanding 'Passion Killings' in Botswana: An Investigation of Media Framing
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.