Forced suicide

The forced suicide is a method of execution where the victim is given a choice between committing suicide or face a worse alternative, usually public performance or may also be torture prior to death, or death or damage to Family or friends. It can also face loss of Honor and Respect of community or people, possession or material goods. 1

Forced suicide was a usual form of execution in ancient Greece and Rome . As a measure of respect, it was usually reserved for aristocrats sentenced to death: victims could drink some venom, such as hemlock or throw themselves on his sword . 1

Probably the most famous case is that of Socrates , who drank hemlock after being convicted, among other charges, of corruption of the youth of Athens. Seneca also committed suicide in response to Emperor Nero ‘s request . Nero himself was also forced to commit suicide, which was quite common in the Roman Empire .

Economic reasons could lead to forced suicide in Rome. A condemned man could lose all his property, so sometimes those who faced this possibility preferred to be sucidarse before his arrest and thus to let his property passed to his heirs (instead of also condemning them to poverty). 1

Another famous example is the forced suicide of Erwin Rommel , in World War II . After Rommel lost faith in the possibility that Germany won the war, it was suspected that there might be lying ties with the conspirators who tried to kill Adolf Hitler the 20 of July of 1944 ; Given his popularity among the German people, Hitler gave him the possibility of committing suicide with cyanide instead of facing dishonor and reprisals against his family and people. Rommel ended his life on October 14, 1944, and was buried with all military honors.

There have also been forced suicides in ancient China , where the generals responsible for major defeats were sometimes ordered to commit suicide.

In some cases, the Japanese haraquiri may fall into this category, since not committing haraquiri when it was demanded could become a great dishonor for a samurai and his family. It was especially the case of the Edo period and a clear example is the one of Asano Naganori . 2 3

Also in cases of gender violence the presence of forced suicide has been detected, mainly when the woman reaches the old age or widow. 4


  1. ↑ Jump to:a b c Fernando Quintanar. “1. Suicide: Definition, components and typology . Suicidal behavior (psychological profile and treatment possibilities) (first edition). Mexico: PAX MEXICO. ISBN  968-860-809-2 . Consulted on October 15, 2015 .
  2. Back to top↑ Rajeswari Sunder Rajan, Real and Imagined Women , Routledge , 1993.
  3. Back to top↑ Tin Mani: Contentious Traditions: The Debate on Sati in Colonial India . Berkeley & Los Angeles, 1998
  4. Back to top↑ «Violence against women. A priority health issue. ” . WHO / PAHO. 1998 . Retrieved on May 23, 2015 .