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Abused South Korean Women: A Comparison of Those Who Do and Those Who Do Not Resort to Lethal Violence

NCJ Number
International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology Volume: 53 Issue: 1 Dated: February 2009 Pages: 93-112
Bitna Kim; Victoria B. Titterington
Date Published
February 2009
20 pages
This study compared women who were incarcerated for killing their husbands and intimate partners with abused women who were staying in shelters in South Korea.
Results found that the group of South Korean women who were serving time in prison for spousal killing reported less psychological and physical abuse than did abused women staying in shelters. This finding is inconsistent with that of studies focusing on Western societies that show no difference or more severe abuse experiences among the abused women killing their intimate partners. One explanation for this difference may come from the fact that the present study includes the female inmates who killed whereas studies in Western societies have typically focused on severely abused women who were incarcerated for killing their intimate partners. Furthermore, women who killed their partners held stronger patriarchal attitudes than did women in shelters. When compared to women in shelters, Korean female spousal homicide offenders had significantly lower levels of educational attainment; the relative role that lack of education might play involves the likelihood that these women were unaware of or lacked ready access to outside social, economic, and legal resources that might have precluded lethal violence. Results also indicate that when compared to women in shelters, women incarcerated for intimate partner homicide were also underemployed. Data were collected from 95 women from Cheong-Ju Women’s Correctional Institution, the only women’s prison in South Korea. Tables, notes, and references