“The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off. ” -Gloria Steinem Discussing honour killings contrary to the accepted social wisdom is taboo. Across societies, we are expected to uphold the dominant social narrative, whether it is tolerance or moral outrage. In both cases, women are the losers when social forces use spin to frame the narrative of gender violence to suit political goals, including maintaining the status quo. Introduction
An honor killing or honor killing (also called a customary killing) is the murder of a member of a family or social group by other members, due to the belief of the perpetrators (and potentially the wider community) that the victim has brought dishonor upon the family or community.
Honor killings are directed mostly against women and girls. The perceived dishonor is normally the result of one of the following behaviors, or the suspicion of such behaviors: a. dressing in a manner unacceptable to the family or community, b.
anting to terminate or prevent an arranged marriage or desiring to marry by own choice, c. engaging in heterosexual sexual acts outside marriage, or even due to a non-sexual relationship perceived as inappropriate, and d. engaging in homosexual acts. Women and girls are killed at a much higher rate than men. Honor killing is more prevalent where a member of a lower class (social status or wealth status) marries a person of relatively higher class (high social or wealth status).
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) estimates that the annual worldwide total of honor-killing victims may be as high as 5,000. Honor killings in History Honor killings and punishments have been documented over centuries among a wide variety of ethnic and religious groups throughout the world. For example, the Code of Hammurabi of Babylon which was issued in 1790 BC penalized adulterous couples by drowning. The 1075 BC Assyrian law of the civilization of Mesopotamia stated that the father of a defiled virgin shall punish his daughter however he saw fit.
In the Bible, the Book of Genesis, Judah demanded for the burning of his daughter-in-law Tamar, whom he was told to be pregnant via harlotry; this view is then supported in Book of Leviticus. Matthew Goldstein also noted that honor killings were encouraged in ancient Rome, where male family members who did not take actions against the female adulterers in their family were “actively persecuted”. Definitions In the modern age, the term was first used by a Dutch scholar of Turkish society, Ane Nauta in 1978. Nauta sought a term that could be used in contradistinction to the blood feud, with which honor killings should not be confused.
Human Rights Watch defines “honor killings” as follows: Honor crimes are acts of violence, usually murder, committed by male family members against female family members, who are held to have brought dishonor upon the family. A woman can be targeted by (individuals within) her family for a variety of reasons, including: refusing to enter into an arranged marriage, being the victim of a sexual assault, seeking a divorce — even from an abusive husband — or (allegedly) committing adultery. The mere perception that a woman has behaved in a way that “dishonors” her family is sufficient to trigger an attack on her life.
The loose term honor killing applies to killing of both males and females in cultures that practice it. For example, during the year 2002 in Pakistan, it is estimated that 245 women and 137 men were killed in the name of Karo-kari in Sindh. These killings target women and men who choose to have relationships outside of their family’s tribal affiliation and/or religious community. Some women who bridge social divides, publicly engage other communities, or adopt some of the customs or the religion of an outside group may thus also be attacked.
In countries that receive immigration, some otherwise low-status immigrant men and boys have asserted their dominant patriarchal status by inflicting honor killings on women family members who have participated in public life, for example in feminist and integration politics. Women in the family tend to support the honor killing of one of their own, agreeing that the family is the property and asset of men and boys. Alternatively, matriarchs may be motivated not by personal belief in the misogynistic ideology of women as property, but rather by pragmatic calculations.
Sometimes a mother may support an honor killing of an “offending” female family member in order to preserve the honor of other female family members since many men in these societies will refuse to marry the sister of a “shamed” female whom the family has not chosen to punish, thereby “purifying” the family name by murdering the suspected female. There is some evidence that homosexuality can also be perceived as grounds for honor killing by relatives. In one case, a gay Jordanian man was shot and wounded by his brother.
In another case, a homosexual Turkish student, Ahmet Yildiz, was shot outside a cafe and later died in the hospital. Sociologists have called this Turkey’s first publicized gay honor killing. HONOUR SUICIDES Over 80 Iraqi women in Diyala province committed suicide, to escape the shame of having been raped. They chose to become suicide bombers to escape the shame; their rapes were planned in advance by 51-year-old Iraqi woman Samira Jassim, who confessed to Iraqi police that she organized their rapes so she could later persuade each of them to become a suicide bomber to escape their shame.
According to the UN in 2002: The report of the Special Reporter… concerning cultural practices in the family that are violent towards women , indicated that honor killings had been reported in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, the Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, Yemen, and other Mediterranean and Persian Gulf countries, and that they had also taken place in western countries such as France, Germany and the United Kingdom, within migrant communities.
There is a strong positive correlation between violence against women, and women’s social power and equality; and a baseline of development, associated with access to basic resources, health care, and human capital, such as literacy – as research by Richard G. Wilkinson shows. In a male-dominated society, there is more inequality between men, and women lose out not just physically and economically, but crucially because men who feel subordinated will often try to regain a sense of their authority in turn by excessive subordination of those below them, i. . women. He says that in male-dominated societies, both men and women suffer more violence, and worse health. Europe In 2005, Der Spiegel reported: “In the past four months, six Muslim women living in Berlin have been brutally murdered by family members”. The article went on to cover the case of Hatun Surucu, who was murdered by her brother for not staying with her husband of forced marriage, and of “living like a German”.
Precise statistics on how many women die every year in such honor killings are hard to come by, as many crimes are never reported, said Myria Boehmecke of the Tuebingen-based women’s group Terre des Femmes which, among other things, tries to protect Muslim girls and women from oppressive families. The Turkish women’s organization Papatya has documented 40 instances of honor killings in Germany since 1996. Hatun Surucu’s brother was convicted of murder and jailed for nine years and three months by a German court in 2006. In March 2009, Turkish immigrant Gulsum S. was killed for a relationship outside her family’s plan for an arranged marriage.
Every year in the UK, a dozen women are victims of honor killings, occurring almost exclusively to date within Asian and Middle Eastern families, and often cases are unresolved due to the unwillingness of family, relatives and communities to testify. A 2006 BBC poll for the Asian network in the UK found that 1 in 10 of the 500 young Asians polled said that they could condone the murder of someone who dishonored their family. In the UK, in December 2005, Nazir Afzal, Director, west London, of Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service, stated that the United Kingdom has seen “at least a dozen honor killings” between 2004 and 2005.
While precise figures do not exist for the perpetrators’ cultural backgrounds, Diana Nammi of the UK’s Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation is reported to have said: “about two-thirds are Muslim. Yet they can also be Hindu, Sikh and even eastern European. ” Another well known case was of Heshu Yones, who was stabbed to death by her father in London in 2002, when her family heard a love song dedicated to her and suspected she had a boyfriend. Another girl suffered a similar fate in Turkey.
In Sweden, a 26-year-old Kurdish woman Fadime Sahindal was murdered by her father in 2002. In most recent cases, a 16-year-old girl had been buried alive by relatives for befriending boys in Southeast Turkey, whereby her corpse was only found 40 days after she went missing. Middle East In April 2008 it came to light that some months prior, a Saudi woman was killed by her father for chatting on Facebook to a man. The murder only came to light when a Saudi cleric referred to the case in an attempt to demonstrate the strife that the website causes.
A June 2008 report by the Turkish Prime Ministry’s Human Rights Directorate, says that in Istanbul alone, there is one honor killing every week; and reports over 1,000 during the last five years. It adds that metropolitan cities are the location of many of these, due to the growing Kurdish immigration to these cities from the East. In 2009, a Turkish news agency reported that an honor killing had occurred to a 2-day old infant boy who was born out of wedlock. The maternal grandmother of the infant, along with six other persons including a doctor who had reportedly accepted a bribe to not report the birth, was arrested.
The grandmother is suspected of fatally suffocating the infant. The child’s mother, 25, was also arrested; she stated that her family had made the decision to kill the child. Ahmet Yildiz, 26, a physics student who represented his country at an international gay gathering in the United States in 2008, was shot leaving a cafe in Istanbul. It is believed Yildiz was the victim of the country’s first gay honor killing. There are no exact official numbers about honor killings in Lebanon as many honor killings there are arranged to look like accidents.
It is believed that 40-50 women are killed each year in Lebanon in honor related killings. A 2007 report by Amnesty claimed that the Lebanese media in 2001 reported 2-3 honor killings per month in Lebanon although the number is believed by lawyers to be higher. In the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, it is believed that 3-4 women per month are killed in honor killings. Most of the honor killings are carried out by villagers and is extremely rare in the Palestinian cities and larger towns.
The Palestinian authority rules with Jordanian law which gives men reduced punishment for killing a female relative if she has brought dishonor to the family. Due to Palestinian protests, Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, promised to change the discrimatory law by the year 2010. He has not yet fulfilled his promise, however, and the law is still valid. As many as 133 women were killed in the Iraqi city of Basra alone in 2006—79 for violation of “Islamic teachings” and 47 for honor killings, according to IRIN, the news branch of the U. N. ‘s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Amnesty International claims honor killings are also conducted by armed groups, not the government, upon politically active women and those who did not follow a strict dress code, as well as women who are perceived as human rights defenders. Jordan, considered one of the most liberal countries in the Middle East still witnesses instances of honor killings. In Jordan there is minimal gender discrimination and women are permitted to vote, but men receive reduced sentences for killing their wives or female family members if they have brought dishonor to their family.
Families often have sons who are considered minors, under the age of 18, to commit the honor killings. A loophole in the juvenile law allows minors to serve time in a juvenile detention center and they are released with a clean criminal record at the age of 18. Rana Husseini, a leading journalist on the topic of honor killings, states that “under the existing law, people found guilty of committing honor killings often receive sentences as light as six months in prison”. North America A 2007 study by Dr. Amin Muhammad and Dr.
Sujay Patel of Memorial University, Canada, showed how Islamic honor killings have been brought to Canada. He wrote: “When people come and settle in Canada they can bring their traditions and forcefully follow them. In some cultures, people feel some boundaries are never to be crossed, and if someone would violate those practices or go against it, then murder is justified to them. ” He also noted that there are hundreds of cases annually in his native Pakistan. He added that “In different cultures, they can get away without being punished — the courts actually sanction them under religious contexts”.
An article in the Spring 2009 edition of Middle East Quarterly argues that the United States is far behind Europe in acknowledging that honor killings are a special form of domestic violence, requiring special training and special programs to protect the young women and girls most likely to be the victim of such. The article suggests that the fear of being labeled “culturally insensitive” prevents US government officials and the media from both identifying and accurately reporting these incidents as “honor illings” when they occur. Failing to accurately describe the problem makes it more difficult to develop public policies to address it. Pakistan In Pakistan honor killings are known locally as karo-kari. Amnesty International’s report noted “the failure of the authorities to prevent these killings by investigating and punishing the perpetrators. ” Recent cases include that of three teenage girls who were buried alive after refusing arranged marriages.
Another case was that of Taslim Khatoon Solangi, 17, of Hajna Shah village in Khairpur district, which became widely reported after the graphic account of her father, 57-year-old Gul Sher Solangi, who alleged his eight months’ pregnant daughter was tortured and murdered on March 7 on the orders of her father-in-law, who accused her of carrying a child conceived out of wedlock. Statistically, honor killings enjoy high level of support in Pakistani society, despite widespread condemnation from human rights groups. In 2002 alone, over 382 people, about 245 women and 137 men, became victims of honor killings in the Sindh province of Pakistan.
Over the course of six years, over 4,000 women have fallen victim to this practice in Pakistan from 1999 to 2004. More recently (in 2005), the average annual number of honor killings for the whole nation ran up to more than 10,000 per year. According to woman rights advocates, the concept of women as property and honor is so deeply entrenched in the social, political and economic fabric of Pakistan that the government, for the most part, ignores the daily occurrences of women being killed and maimed by their families. Frequently, women murdered in “honor” killings are recorded as having committed suicide or died in accidents. A conference held in May 2005 in Islamabad, Pakistan addressed whether Pakistani law, governments and international agencies were having any positive impact in reducing honor killings in Pakistan. They found that more cases of honor killings are being reported and more women are having the courage to come forward, but also found a severe dearth of proper implementation of laws and assurances that men who commit honor killings are not given lighter sentences.
The conference found fault with Pakistan’s Zina laws that put women in an unfair disadvantage and inferior position, often at the mercy of men to prove her innocence. In the United Kingdom, honor killing is frequent in the Pakistani diaspora and within the Muslim community, with approximately 10-12 cases occurring each year. Example cases include Tulay Goren, (Shia Muslim) , Samaira Nazir (Pakistani Muslim), and Heshu Yones (Kurdish Muslim).
However, it is noted by sociologists that honor killings do not necessarily have to do with religion, but rather the cultures in different regions where religions occur.. Savitri Goonesekere qualifies this claim, however, by stating that Islamic leaders in Pakistan use religious justifications for sanctioning honor killings. HONOUR KILLINGS IN INDIA People are sometimes murdered in Northern India (mainly in the Indian state of Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana and Bihar for marrying without their family’s acceptance, in some cases for marrying outside their caste (Jat or Rajput) or religion.
Among Rajputs, marriages with other caste male/female instigate killings of the married couple and family. This is unique form of honor killing related to the militant culture of ethnic Rajputs, who, despite the forces of modernization and the pressures of decolonization, subscribe to medieval views concerning the “preservation” of perceived “purity” of their lineage. In Haryana, for example, a couple of such incidents still occur every year. Bhagalpur in the northern Indian state of Bihar has also been notorious for honor killings.
Recent cases include a 16-year-old girl, Imrana, from Bhojpur who was set on fire inside her house in a case of what the police called ‘moral vigilantism’. The victim had screamed for help for about 20 minutes before neighbors arrived, only to find her still smoldering. She was admitted to a local hospital, where she later succumbed to her injuries. In another case in May 2008, Jayvirsingh Bhadodiya shot his daughter Vandana and struck her in the head with an axe.. In June 2010 some incidents were reported even from Delhi.
In a landmark judgment, in March 2010, Karnal district court ordered the execution of the five perpetrators in an honor killing case, while giving a life sentence to the khap (local caste-based council) head who ordered the killings of Manoj Banwala (23) and Babli (19), two members of the same clan who eloped and married in June 2007. Despite being given police protection on court orders, they were kidnapped; their mutilated bodies were found a week later from an irrigation canal. Honor killings are rare to non-existent in South India, and the western Indian states of Maharashtra and Gujarat.
There have been no honor killings in West Bengal in over 100 years, thanks to the influence and activism of reformists like Vivekananda, Ramakrishna, Vidyasagar and Raja Ram Mohan Roy. In 1990, the National Commission for Women set up a statutory body in order to address the issues of honor killings among some ethnic groups in North India. This body reviewed constitutional, legal and other provisions as well as challenges women face. The NCW’s activism has contributed significantly towards the reduction of honor killings in rural areas of North India.
According to Pakistani activists Hina Jilani and Eman M. Ahmed, Indian women are considerably better protected against honor killings by Indian law and government than Pakistani women, and they have suggested that governments of countries affected by honor killings use Indian law as a model in order to prevent honor killings in their respective societies. In June 2010, scrutinizing the increasing number of honor killings, the Supreme Court of India issued notices to the Central Government and six states including Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan, to take reventive measures against the social evil. According to an article in the Asian Age, India has reported over 1,000 cases of honor killings every year. And 900 incidents of such honor killings are reported from three Indian states alone: Haryana, Punjab, and U. P. Of course such figures are on the lower side as many cases of honor killings go unreported as family members involved in such murders report them as natural deaths to escape punishment.
Also, many times the police are hand-in-gloves with the perpetrators and either does not register the complaints or falsely label such killings as personal animosity, suicide, natural deaths, and accidents but not honor killings, which they really are. An Amnesty International statement adds: The regime of honor is unforgiving: women on whom suspicion has fallen are not given an opportunity to defend themselves, and family members have no socially acceptable alternative but to remove the stain on their honor by attacking the woman. NATIONS & LEGAL CODES
According to the report of the Special Reporter submitted to the 58th session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (2002) concerning cultural practices in the family that reflect violence against women The Special Reporter indicated that there had been contradictory decisions with regard to the honor defense in Brazil, and that legislative provisions allowing for partial or complete defense in that context could be found in the penal codes of Argentina, Ecuador, Egypt, Guatemala, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Peru, Syria, Venezuela and the Palestinian National Authority.
Countries where the law is interpreted to allow men to kill female relatives in a premeditated effort as well as for crimes of passions, in flagrante delicto in the act of committing adultery, include: Jordan: Part of article 340 of the Penal Code states that “he who discovers his wife or one of his female relatives committing adultery and kills, wounds, or injures one of them, is exempted from any penalty. ” This has twice been put forward for cancellation by the government, but was retained by the Lower House of the Parliament, in 2003: a year in which at least seven honor killings took place.
Article 98 of the Penal Code is often cited alongside Article 340 in cases of honor killings. “Article 98 stipulates that a reduced sentence is applied to a person who kills another person in a ‘fit of fury’”. Countries that allow men to kill female relatives in flagrante delicto (but without premeditation) include: Syria: Article 548 states that “He who catches his wife or one of his ascendants, descendants or sister committing adultery (flagrante delicto) or illegitimate sexual acts with another and he killed or injured one or both of them benefits from a reduced penalty, that should not be less than 2 years in prison in case of a killing. Countries that allow husbands to kill only their wives in flagrante delicto (based upon the Napoleonic code) include: Morocco: Revisions to Morocco’s criminal code in 2003 helped improve women’s legal status by eliminating unequal sentencing in adultery cases. Article 418 of the penal code granted extenuating circumstances to a husband who murders, injures, or beats his wife and/or her partner, when catching them in flagrante delicto while committing adultery.
While this article has not been repealed, the penalty for committing this crime is at least now the same for both genders. In two Latin American countries, similar laws were struck down over the past two decades: according to human rights lawyer Julie Mertus “in Brazil, until 1991 wife killings were considered to be noncriminal ‘honor killings’; in just one year, nearly eight hundred husbands killed their wives. Similarly, in Colombia, until 1980, a husband legally could kill his wife for committing adultery. “
Countries where honor killing is not legal but is known to occur include: Turkey: In Turkey, persons found guilty of this crime are sentenced to life in prison. There are well documented cases, where Turkish courts have sentenced whole families to life imprisonment for an honor killing. The most recent was on January 13, 2009, where a Turkish Court sentenced five members of the same Kurdish family to life imprisonment for the “honor killing” of Naile Erdas, 16, who got pregnant as a result of rape. Pakistan: Honor killings are known as karo kari.
The practice is supposed to be prosecuted under ordinary murder, but in practice police and prosecutors often ignore it. Often a man must simply claim the killing was for his honor and he will go free. Nilofar Bakhtiar, advisor to Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, stated that in 2003, as many as 1,261 women were murdered in honor killings. On December 8, 2004, under international and domestic pressure, Pakistan enacted a law that made honor killings punishable by a prison term of seven years, or by the death penalty in the most extreme cases.
Women’s rights organizations were, however, wary of this law as it stops short of outlawing the practice of allowing killers to buy their freedom by paying compensation to the victim’s relatives. Women’s rights groups claimed that in most cases it is the victim’s immediate relatives who are the killers, so inherently the new law is just eyewash. It did not alter the provisions whereby the accused could negotiate pardon with the victim’s family under the Islamic provisions. In March 2005 the Pakistani parliament rejected a bill which sought to strengthen the law against the practice of honor killing.
However, the bill was brought up again, and in November 2006, it passed. It is doubtful whether or not the law would actually help women. Egypt: A number of studies on honor crimes by The Centre of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law, at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, includes one which reports on Egypt’s legal system, noting a gender bias in favor of men in general, and notably article 17 of the Penal Code : judicial discretion to allow reduced punishment in certain circumstance, often used in honor killings case.
SUPPORT & CRITICISM Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov said that honor killings were perpetuated on those who deserved to die. He said that those who are killed have “loose morals” and are rightfully shot by relatives in honor killings. He did not vilify women alone but added that “If a woman runs around and if a man runs around with her, both of them are killed. ” Criticism and admonishment Religions and historical figures alike have condemned honor killings in the past and fought for the good name of accused victims.
According to John , concerning a woman caught in bed with a man who was not her husband, Jesus said “If any of you have never sinned, then go ahead and throw the first stone at her! “, causing the crowd to disperse and the woman released. Meanwhile, Quranic verse dictates that should a woman be accused of promiscuity without there being four trustworthy witnesses to support the allegations, the accusers are to be flogged unless they apologise to the accused woman. Debate over the term ‘Honor’
In a recent article ‘To Specify or Single Out’ in the Muslim World Journal of Human Rights, WLUML networker Rochelle L. Terman asks ‘Should We Use the Term “Honor Killing”? The use of the term ‘honor killing’ has elicited strong reactions from a variety of groups for years; but the recent Aqsa Parvez and Aasiya Hassan cases have brought a renewed interest from women’s rights activists, community leaders, and law enforcement to study the term and come to a consensus on its validity and usefulness, particularly in the North American and European Diaspora.
While some aver that the term ‘honor killing’ is an appropriate description of a unique and particular crime, others deem it as rather a racist and misleading phrase used to promote violent stereotypes of particular communities, particularly Muslim minorities in North America and Europe. If we analyse the arguments of both sides, we can argue on two points: one that ‘honor killing’ exists as a specific form of violence against women, having particular characteristics that warrants its classification as a unique category of violence.
Second, while ‘honor killings’ are recognized as such in many non-Western contexts, there is a trend among advocacy organizations in the North American and European Diaspora to avoid, ignore, or rebuke the term ‘honor killings’ as a misleading label that is racist, xenophobic, and/or harmful to Muslim populations. This is a direct response to the misuse of the term mostly within media outlets and public discourse that serves to further marginalize Muslim and immigrant groups. Many critics point out that Western media erroneously use the term “honor killing,” even when no honor dynamics are at stake.
As we have seen, honor killing involve a specific set of criteria that make it unique from other forms of domestic or intimate partner violence. Just the fact that a murder of a woman has occurred in a Muslim/Arab/South Asian community does not warrant the label “honor killing. ” However, media reports often label particular crimes “honor killing” for the sole reason that they occur among Muslims and/or South Asians. The gruesome murder of Aasiya Hassan provides a useful illustration of a scenario in which the media dubiously applies the label “honor killing.
Aasiya was decapitated by her husband, Muzzammil, after attempting to get a divorce as well as a restraining order against him for domestic abuse. Ironically, Muzzammil was heralded as a respected pillar of Buffalo’s Muslim community after founding Bridges TV, a network aimed to combat negative stereotypes of Muslim-American immigrants, even though he clearly had a reputation of being violent after his previous two marriages ended due to domestic violence. After Aasiya was murdered, reporters flocked to the case, broadcasting the crime as an “honor killing. Their evidence was primarily the gruesome nature in which Aasiya was killed; decapitation often serves as an image connected with Muslim extremism, terrorism, and “backwards” culture—”honor killing” seemed to fit part and parcel with these other notions. Aasiya’s horrendous murder provided a wake-up call to many in the Muslim community as well as outside of it concerning how we use the term “honor killing. ” Although many of the details of this case have yet to be broadcast at time of writing, we can reasonably assume that Aasiya’s murder was probably not an honor killing using the four criteria explained above.
First Aasiya was murdered by her husband, not her kin members, which is rarer in honor motivated crimes. Second, all evidence points to Muzzammil acting alone. Honor killings almost always involve other members of the family or honor group. But by all police reports, Muzzammil was acting alone, without either the explicit or implicit help or approval of family members. Third, honor killings are motivated by the public “dishonoring” of men by their female relatives; but no such thing occurred in this case. Yes, Aasiya has asked for a divorce, but so did Muzzammil’s first and second wives, and no honor crime have been attempted in those cases.
Why should he be so dishonored now? Fourth, we are still unsure as to whether this crime was premeditated. Perhaps most importantly, an honor killing necessitates an accepted, even if informal, code of honor that exists to legitimate murder and rewards it with honor (Wikan 2008: 248). We cannot establish that such a code existed in this case. The case of Aasiya Hassan reminds us the danger in concluding that a murder is an honor killing, even when it occurs among Muslims, even when there are good grounds that the perpetrator felt disgraced, and even when the victim did something that transgressed sexual norms.
It seems that media reports labeled this incident an honor killing not because of the specific dynamics of the crime but because of the perpetrator and victim’s nationalities and religion. In short, those who wish to remove the demarcation between “honor killing” and domestic violence point to a double standard fueled by a Culture Clash and Culture talk logic. Western media gives a disproportional amount of attention to intimate partner violence in immigrant communities by labeling them as a uniquely disturbing phenomenon, “honor killings. Even though rates of rape, sexual harassment, and inter-family murder are staggeringly high in the “West,” the media singles out Muslim and other immigrant communities for perpetrating these types of crimes, thereby ignoring the whole truth concerning violence against women. This seeming hypocrisy has led many to question the term “honor killing. ” A few months back ,The National Commission for Women in India has recommended removal of the word ‘honor’ from honor killing while describing crimes when a person is killed to save a family’s ‘honor’.
The NCW’s recommendation came after an inquiry into the hurried cremation of a girl by her family in a Greater Noida village mid-June. The girl, studying in a Bulandshahr college, had eloped twice from her home in Bhaipur-Brahampur village, police said. On June 15, her family members cremated her. Police suspected it was a case of honor killing. The NCW team said neither an FIR nor a complaint was registered in the case. The team suggested criminal prosecution against lawyers even remotely connected with defending the accused. It also noted that such cases were increasing.
In its recommendations, the inquiry committee, headed by NCW member Charu Wali Khanna, said, “The usage of the word (honor) has a tendency to rationalize and legitimize the motive of the crime by creating a false notion that the crime has been committed to save the ‘honor’ of the family. Thus implying society is bound by tradition to protect this violation of tradition. The NCW suggested special provisions/ chapter in the Indian Penal Code to prevent such crimes. Recommendations What can we do to prevent such a thing from happening? Firstly, the mentality of the people has to change.
And when we say that the mentality has to change, we mean to say that parents should accept their children’s wishes regarding marriage as it is they who have to lead a life with their life partners and if they are not satisfied with their life partner then they will lead a horrible married life which might even end in suicide. Secondly, we need to have stricter laws to tackle these kinds of killings as this is a crime which cannot be pardoned because. Humans do not have the right to write down death sentences of innocent fellow humans.
Cite this Murder in the Name of Honor
Murder in the Name of Honor. (2016, Nov 13). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/murder-in-the-name-of-honor/