Honor is a word used to describe a notable act of respect and pride. It is used to label something that you are proud of, something that you are happy about and something that you can keep your head high about. Now, put the word killing in front of it, does it still sound as prestigious as it did?
The association of the two words baffles me. ‘Honor killing’ is a murder of one who is most trusted, loved and cared about and bizarrely this murder is performed by one’s own male direct family. In this case, the perpetrators believe that the pitilessly killed member of the family has shamed the family because of their actions- usually, something like alleged marital infidelity, refusal to an arranged marriage, demanding a divorce, perceived flirtatious behavior and being raped. Believe it or not, the family member is killed to keep up the family ‘pride’. 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 communities; and why should we sit still -not making an effort to uproot these sinful practices. Talking about it or even listening to stories about it sends a shiver down my spine; it tightens the knots in my stomach.
“Honor killings” or Horror killings – same thing.
So, who is affected by these heinous acts? Girls, in small parts of India, Bangladesh, Jordan and many more. They aren’t allowed to have control over their own lives. The life she lives is the life her family wants her to live. They are threatened, physically and mentally abused, and hurt in order to live the life they are forced to. They are told who to marry, when to get married, what to dream and when to eat and if she retaliates, or acts out she would have to say goodbye to life. These young innocent girls are just like you, just like your sister. Just like any other girl you see on the street, just like any other female. After treating them this way, why blame them for running away? why punish them? most importantly why kill them? understandably, she will attempt to run away from home, if home seems like nothing else but prison.
What will happen if we continue to be ignorant? If we don’t do something about this soon, too many girls will fall victim to acts of honor killing. One such victim was a ten-year-old girl from Afghan: she was raped by a clergy that took place in the sanctity of a mosque. While the intelligent and passionate 10-year old, who had dreams about being a writer, was living this ordeal, her parents were desperate for vengeance. Not revenge for the clergy, but for her. Shamelessly, her parents openly planned to execute ‘honor killing’ upon the traumatized child. Shamelessly, the clergy offered to marry her; even though she didn’t even know what marriage meant. Marrying her meant taking her innocence, childhood, laughter, and everything that a ten-year-old deserves away. It was either that or death. More stories like this will continue to happen if we continue to be ignorant. We have to take action now.
Women in many cultures are considered to be the ‘property’ of male family members, letting man control more than a majority of their lives. The care, sorry more like ‘maintenance’ of a woman’s chastity and faithfulness, no matter how ridiculously they are treated is the responsibility of the man to whom she ‘belongs’ to. According to culture, if their ‘property’ brings shame to family, it causes strain to family honour, living the men apparently, no choice but to kill?! As a result, once again culture triumphs to bring us to the grounds. Cultural beliefs and values seem to have an astonishing power, capable of overriding the most primitive urges of human nature.
These girls who don’t have a voice because they barely have a say in their own life, need you, look up to you for help; because we are the people, you are the one, the one with a voice who can help them. If the government makes even the tiniest efforts, to educate the whole country about honour killing; mark my words it will bring a significant change in the numbers of women dying in this inhumanity. This wouldn’t only bring a change to the world now, but it will bring a change to the coming generation. This cannot be the place our future grows in. It would be a shame if this is what we give our future.
Honor killing is a bane and no boon. If you love, protect and support it is honor, not kill. If you defend and respect it is honor, not kill. Before honor killing turns from culture to religion we need to do something, and together we could do something big that makes a person think twice before they execute this malignant activity. Together we could make a change in the lives of many girls and families. The built passion in us altogether is unstoppable and can make a difference.