In most countries data on honor killings is not collected systematically, and many of these killings are reported by the families as suicides or accidents and registered as such.Often, minor girls and boys are selected by the family to act as the killers, so that the killer may benefit from the most favorable legal outcome.
Some women who bridge social divides, publicly engage other communities, or adopt some of the customs or the religion of an outside group may be attacked.
In countries that receive immigrants, some otherwise low-status and generally Islamic immigrant men and boys have asserted their dominant patriarchal status by inflicting honor killings on female family members who have participated in public life, for example, in feminist and integration politics.
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The way through which women in honor-based societies are considered to bring dishonor to men is often through their sexual behavior.
Indeed, violence related to female sexual expression has been documented since Ancient Rome, when the pater familias had the right to kill an unmarried sexually active daughter or an adulterous wife.
The distinctive nature of honor killings is the collective nature of the crime – many members of an extended family plan the act together, sometimes through a formal "family council".
Another significant feature is the connection of honor killings to the control of individual's behavior, in particular in regard to sexuality/marriage, by the family as a collective.
It also comments that the practice is not related to a feudal societal structure, "there are also perpetrators who are well-educated university graduates.