Killing a family member (mostly female) for bringing so called dishonour to the family is referred to as honour killing. The so called dishonour is known to be brought by different factors – refusing divorce, marrying against the family’s wishes, not wanting to have sex with the partner or engaging in sexual acts with people from the same sex, wearing clothes which are not acceptable to the family etc. The people who decide the so called dishonour include people from the family, goons and self proclaimed social activists. United Nations Populations Fund estimates 5000 deaths due to this social evil every year. The unofficial figure could go upto 5-6 times this.
Honour killing is known to be prevalent in India, Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, the Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, Yemen, and other Mediterranean and Persian Gulf countries, and also within migrant communities in France, Germany and the United Kingdom. In Saudi a women was killed because she dared to chat with a man on Facebook. In Pakistan, a women who refused to have sex with her husband because she was tired was mercilessly raped and killed by all her family members. In India, Rizwanur Rahman was killed by Todi’s man because he dared to marry the rich businessman’s daughter. In Iraq, more than 79 women were killed because they violated the so called “Islamic teachings”.
Its all the same everywhere. So why is this prevalent? There is a strong positive correlation between violence against women, and women’s social power and equality with a baseline of development, associated with access to basic resources, health care, and human capital, such as literacy. 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.e. women.
Even in India, this is highly prevalent in patriarchial societies in the North. Unless we have a change in our values, women will continue to be supressed as always and considered a piece of dirt!
PS – Men are killed too in the name of honour but more than 90% are females and therefore my blog concentrates on that fact!