Women in the United Kingdom are resisting forced marriage and other abuses of their human rights. Unfortunately, as a result of their resistance, the number of so-called “honor” crimes is increasing rapidly. In 2010, there were 2823 incidents of “honor” crimes recorded by police, which is an increase of 47% over the previous year.
According to the Guardian, “honor” crimes can include “threats, abduction, acid attacks, beatings, forced marriage, mutilation and murder.” Victim support organizations estimate that the real figures could be up to four times as high, since most incidents still go unreported and because one quarter of UK police forces didn’t provide data.
The UK is not the only Western nation to struggle under these types of crimes against women. In Canada, a Montreal resident Mohammad Shafia, his second wife Tooba, and his son Hamed have been charged in the “honor” killing of his three daughters and his first wife. In February 2011, Faleh Hassan Almaleki was convicted of second degree murder in the death of his 20 year old daughter who he claimed had become “too Westernized.” The United Nations estimates that around 5,000 women and girls are murdered by their own families each year in countries around the world.
This disturbing trend in the UK has even become the subject of an award winning film. In Land Gold Women, an Indian immigrant murders his daughter in an “honor” killing after she rejects an arranged marriage and instead elopes with her English boyfriend. The film won the National Award for Best Film in English in 2010 and has received praise at numerous national and international film festivals.
How can the daughters of immigrants protect themselves while seeking independence when their fathers and brothers are willing to give up anything to prevent them from doing so?
Photo credit: lilivanili on flickr