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Pakistanis Try Confronting Shame of Honor Killing

Society & Culture  (tags: honour killings, violence, women, Pakistan )

- 3832 days ago -
KARACHI (Reuters) - Ayesha Baloch was dragged to a field, her brother-in-law held the 18-year-old down, her husband sat astride her legs and slit her upper lip and nostril with a knife. They call such assaults on women a matter of "honor" in some Pakis

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Bitsy One (0)
Monday November 26, 2007, 12:06 pm
While Pakistan is believed to have the highest absolute number of "honor" killings per annum, it is important to note that others, such as Jordan and Palestine, are believed to have higher per capita rates. These crimes are a scourge wherever they take place.

Ellen R. Sheeley, Author
"Reclaiming Honor in Jordan"

Pamela Salomon (255)
Monday November 26, 2007, 3:57 pm
What year is this? I thought this was the 21 century. When are we going to stop the madness?

Past Member (0)
Monday November 26, 2007, 10:30 pm
No horrified..

Pam F (221)
Tuesday November 27, 2007, 12:30 am
Noted - that grown men can perpetrate such evil on young girls,in any circumstances whatever,is terrifying beyond imagining! These people must be possessed of such diseased and twisted psyches,they are a scourge on any society they inhabit.

Madalena Lobaotello (448)
Tuesday November 27, 2007, 2:51 am
"Honour" killings of women can be defined as acts of murder in which "a woman is killed for her actual or perceived immoral behavior." (Yasmeen Hassan, "The Fate of Pakistani Women," International Herald Tribune, May 25, 1999.)


Julia D (92)
Tuesday November 27, 2007, 4:29 am
Violence against women is rampant in all societies. Just today, Brazilian news reported a study by some UN agency that talks about rates of 30-60% of women being brutalized in Latin America. Every seven minutes a woman is raped in the U.S.
Here in Amazonia, where supposedly promiscuity is part of the "culture" I read about men all the time who kill their partners for alleged relationships. Just they don't call it "honor killing" here, they call it "crimes of love."

Past Member (0)
Tuesday November 27, 2007, 4:48 am
The reasoning behind these killing is power and the very soul of women................And, yet we are the nurturers of these men.
One has to wonder just how many of these men have a wandering eye and lustful thoughts!! All too many but they will "never" say!!

PLANT LIFE FOR LIFE..........PLANT TREES..................


Madalena Lobaotello (448)
Tuesday November 27, 2007, 5:02 am
I agree with you!
In Chile, this year we have 53 women murder in a femicide ( murder of a woman by his husband)

Madalena Lobaotello (448)
Tuesday November 27, 2007, 5:04 am
There is nothing in the Koran, the book of basic Islamic teachings, that permits or sanctions honor killings. However, the view of women as property with no rights of their own is deeply rooted in Islamic culture, Tahira Shahid Khan, a professor specializing in women's issues at the Aga Khan University in Pakistan, wrote in Chained to Custom, a review of honor killings published in 1999.
"Women are considered the property of the males in their family irrespective of their class, ethnic, or religious group. The owner of the property has the right to decide its fate. The concept of ownership has turned women into a commodity which can be exchanged, bought and sold."

Honor killings are perpetrated for a wide range of offenses. Marital infidelity, pre-marital sex, flirting, or even failing to serve a meal on time can all be perceived as impugning the family honor.

Madalena Lobaotello (448)
Tuesday November 27, 2007, 5:07 am

Bitsy One (0)
Tuesday November 27, 2007, 11:59 am
But there is a difference between crimes of passion and "honor" killings. The latter have different origins and are much less likely to be punished, just for starters.

Madalena Lobaotello (448)
Tuesday November 27, 2007, 12:16 pm

"Honour" killings of women can be defined as acts of murder in which "a woman is killed for her actual or perceived immoral behavior." (Yasmeen Hassan, "The Fate of Pakistani Women," International Herald Tribune, May 25, 1999.)

Such "immoral behavior" may take the form of marital infidelity, refusing to submit to an arranged marriage, demanding a divorce, flirting with or receiving phone calls from men, failing to serve a meal on time, or -- grotesquely -- "allowing herself" to be raped.

In the Turkish province of Sanliurfa, one young woman's "throat was slit in the town square because a love ballad was dedicated to her over the radio." (Pelin Turgut, "'Honour' Killings Still Plague Turkish Province," The Toronto Star, May 14, 1998.)

Most "honour" killings of women occur in Muslim countries, the focus of this case study; but it is worth noting that no sanction for such murders is granted in Islamic religion or law. And the phenomenon is in any case a global one.

According to Stephanie Nebehay, such killings "have been reported in Bangladesh, Britain, Brazil, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Pakistan, Morocco, Sweden, Turkey and Uganda." Afghanistan, where the practice is condoned under the rule of the fundamentalist Taliban movement, can be added to the list, along with Iraq and Iran. (Nebehay, "'Honor Killings' of Women Said on Rise Worldwide," Reuters dispatch, April 7, 2000.)
Who is responsible?

"Honour" killings of women (and occasionally their male "partners in crime") reflect longstanding patriarchal-tribal traditions. In a "bizarre duality," women are viewed "on the one hand as fragile creatures who need protection and on the other as evil Jezebels from whom society needs protection."

Patriarchal tradition "casts the male as the sole protector of the female so he must have total control of her. If his protection is violated, he loses honour because either he failed to protect her or he failed to bring her up correctly." (Armstrong, "Honour's Victims.") Clearly, the vulnerability of women around the world to this type of violence will only be reduced when these patriarchal mindsets are challenged and effectively confronted.

As many of the examples cited in this case study indicate, state authorities frequently ignore their obligation to prosecute "honour" killings. They should be viewed as "co-conspirators" in such crimes, and held accountable by organizations such as the United Nations.

The typical "honour" killer is a man, usually the father, husband, or brother of the victim. Frequently teenage brothers are selected by their family or community to be the executioners, because their sentences will generally be lighter than those handed down to adults (as was the case with the killing of Rania Arafat in Jordan, cited above). "Talking and writing about this atrocity is a good start," wrote Marina Sanchez-Rashid in a letter to The Jordan Times, "but I believe that action to start treating and judging the men who commit these crimes as the first degree murderers that they are, as well as to protect the victims as they deserve to be protected, is needed as soon as possible." (Quoted in Patrick Goodenough, "Middle East Women Campaign Against 'Family Honor' Killings," Conservative News Service, March 8, 1999.)

As with witch-hunts, however, "honour" killings also need to be viewed from a broader societal perspective; they derive from expectations of female behaviour that are held and perpetuated by men and women alike. Women's role has often been underappreciated. Occasionally, they participate directly in the killings. More frequently, they play a leading role in preparing the ground. In Palestine, for example, the anthropologist Ilsa Glaser has noted that "women acted as instigators and collaborators in these murders, unleashing a torrent of gossip that spurred the accusations." (Quoted in The Calgary Herald, April 20, 2000.) Jordanian women running for parliament have also been "reluctant to break the taboo" on condemning and prosecuting "honour" killings; one told the Manchester Guardian Weekly that "This is our tradition. We do not want to encourage women who break up the family." (Borger, "In Cold Blood.") In the Ramle district of Israel, police commander Yifrach Duchovey lamented his inability to secure the cooperation of community members in investigating "honour" killings: "Even other women -- the mothers -- won't cooperate with us. Sometimes the women co-operate with the men who commit the murders. ... A woman may think it is OK -- maybe she thinks the victim deserves it." (Quoted in Zima, "When Brothers Kill Sisters.")

Thousands of Women Killed for Family "Honor"

Hillary Mayell
for National Geographic News

February 12, 2002

Hundreds, if not thousands, of women are murdered by their families each year in the name of family "honor." It's difficult to get precise numbers on the phenomenon of honor killing; the murders frequently go unreported, the perpetrators unpunished, and the concept of family honor justifies the act in the eyes of some societies.

Most honor killings occur in countries where the concept of women as a vessel of the family reputation predominates, said Marsha Freemen, director of International Women's Rights Action Watch at the Hubert Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.

Reports submitted to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights show that honor killings have occurred in Bangladesh, Great Britain, Brazil, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Pakistan, Morocco, Sweden, Turkey, and Uganda. In countries not submitting reports to the UN, the practice was condoned under the rule of the fundamentalist Taliban government in Afghanistan, and has been reported in Iraq and Iran.

But while honor killings have elicited considerable attention and outrage, human rights activists argue that they should be regarded as part of a much larger problem of violence against women.

In India, for example, more than 5,000 brides die annually because their dowries are considered insufficient, according to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). Crimes of passion, which are treated extremely leniently in Latin America, are the same thing with a different name, some rights advocates say.

In countries where Islam is practiced, they're called honor killings, but dowry deaths and so-called crimes of passion have a similar dynamic in that the women are killed by male family members and the crimes are perceived as excusable or understandable," said Widney Brown, advocacy director for Human Rights Watch.

The practice, she said, "goes across cultures and across religions."

Complicity by other women in the family and the community strengthens the concept of women as property and the perception that violence against family members is a family and not a judicial issue.

"Females in the family—mothers, mothers-in-law, sisters, and cousins—frequently support the attacks. It's a community mentality," said Zaynab Nawaz, a program assistant for women's human rights at Amnesty International.


Madalena Lobaotello (448)
Tuesday November 27, 2007, 12:39 pm
More than a religious or cultural issue, home agression against women seems to be a cultural thing.
Passional crimes do happen world wide.
In the eastern (islamic) world men do sublimate their crime and start to call it a "honour killing"!
Though, how should we call all that home aggression and passionate crimes in the western world?
In south america it's cultural acceptable for a married man to kill his wife and her lover! It seems logical to me to get a divorce, right?
In other so called civilised countries men get drunk and beat their partners!
What kind of juridic actions should be taked?

Anyhow, aggression against women shouldn't be accepted at all and perpetrators should be prossecuted

Madalena Lobaotello (448)
Tuesday November 27, 2007, 12:56 pm
Please see:
No Honour in Murder

Jennie B (14)
Tuesday November 27, 2007, 6:14 pm
There is nothing honorable about abusing, mutilating, brutalizing or killing young women regardless of culture. No one can justify it by spouting tradition-it is what it is: cruel, dehumanizing, and WRONG. And yes, this country has its share of abuse, pedophilia, rape, and killing of girls and women. It is just as WRONG, just as sick no matter what race. background, or what happened in one's childhood. There is no justifiable excuse for hurting a girl or woman, or for that matter a human being unless in self defense. This would include psychological abuse which is just as demoralizing and cruel in some ways although the bruises are on the inside not the outside. Noted/Shared

Madalena Lobaotello (448)
Wednesday November 28, 2007, 3:40 am
GREAT WORDS! I agree with you

Karen Tintori (0)
Wednesday November 28, 2007, 6:22 am
As if the fear of brutal torture and murder at the hands of male relatives isn't a hideous enough fate for young Pakistani women, now the compulsion to immolate themselves for real or perceived affronts to the family "honor" is becoming commonplace.

Until the groundswell of sane voices cryiing that there is no honor in murdering our women reaches a crescendo and drowns out the voices of insanity insisting this is the path to cleansing their famiilies, we cannot remain silent. There is no honor in killing our wives, sisters, daughters, nieces -- ever.

Karen Tintori, author
Unto the Daughters: The Legacy of an Honor Killing in a Sicilian-American Family

Past Member (0)
Wednesday November 28, 2007, 6:45 am
When one adds up all of the feelings & so called customs/traditions in these cultures and even in our own in American there seems to be a degree of hatred for women. Seemingly these attitudes go back to Eve but, there is so much illogical history attached that has been handed down for a thousand years that women are sinful and bad as compared to...........Men!

I think men have been on a power trip all these eons and it needs to change real soon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Plant life.......................Plant trees........................
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