Added: February 8, 2014 – Last updated: June 20, 2015


Author: Stacy Banwell

Title: Women, Violence and Gray Zones

Subtitle: Resolving the Paradox of the Female Victim-Perpetrator

Journal: The Internet Journal of Criminology

Volume: -

Issue: -

Year: September 2011

Pages: 19 pages

ISSN: 2045-6743 – Find a Library: Open Acess Journal

Language: English

Keywords: 20th Century | Canadian History | Cases: Offenders / Karla Homolka; Offenders: Couples, Women; Types: Serial Rape


Link: Internet Journal of Criminology (Free Access)


Author: Stacy Banwell, School of Law, University of Greenwich

Abstract: »This article analyses the conflicting narratives surrounding the case of convicted Canadian offender Karla Homolka. As both a victim and a perpetrator of violent crime Karla’s actions are positioned precariously between activity and passivity. It is precisely because of this blurring of boundaries - between agency and victimization - that her case has received widespread critical discussion. Despite attempts to ‘recuperate’ her narrative (Morrissey, 2003; Thompson and Ricard, 2009), Karla still presents us with a paradox. There is a need then to unpack the relationship between Karla’s victimization (non-agency) and her criminal culpability (agency). This paper will consider whether or not Primo Levi’s (1988) concept of ‘gray zones’ can resolve this paradox.« (Source: Internet Journal of Criminology)


  Abstract (p. 1)
  Introduction (p. 2)
  The aim and structure of the article (p. 2)
  Karla Homolka (p. 3)
  Victim or agent? The dichotomous construction of Karla Homolka (p. 4)
  Personal narratives and lived experience (p. 5)
  Limitations (p. 6)
  Gray Zones (p. 7)
  Women Misogyny and Gray Areas (p. 8)
  Gray Areas: A Recuperative Narrative? (p. 9)
  Coercion and relational autonomy (p. 10)
    Karla's court testimony (p. 12)
    The post release interview (p. 12)
    Guilt and Responsibility (p. 13)
  Conclusion (p. 14)
  Final comments (p. 15)
  References (p. 17)

Wikipedia: Karla Homolka