An honour killing is known to be a cultural practice, historically evolved. It is generally the murder of a family by one or more fellow family members, when they (and potentially the wider community) believe the victim to have brought dishonour upon the family or community. The United Nations Population Fund estimates that the annual worldwide total of honour-killing victims may be as high as 5,000. There are many that are against this whilst there’s some that are for it. Most the time the common excuse and common factors that lead to honour killing is property savings or suspicion if ‘intimate’ relations between a woman and a male.
This could include adultery, sex out of marriage, getting her own choice of marriage partner, husbands’ will for second marriage, refusing to enter into an arranged marriage, being the victim of a sexual assault, seeking a divorce – even from an abusive husband or simply coming close companions which all would turn into a volatile situation. The mere perception that a woman has behaved in a way that “dishonors” her family is sufficient to trigger an attack on her life. Mostly, killings are merely occurred on accusation instead of solid based evidence.
From that who would think that something so small could be the tragic end of someone’s life? Honour killing is usually targeted to girls. Also, sometimes they may marry someone of her own choice. One may say that it is not worth taking someone’s life away just because you wouldn’t be happy with their relationship and they should understand that it is up to the girl to make her decision on who to marry and that you should accept the true love of the daughter’s life and that otherwise it is immoral. But a question that should be apposed is; would you rather live a life you enjoy or a life that others consider to be right?
An economic reason is that the family member could get their daughter or the girl killed and could seek compensation for her and blame it on the man that she liked, for example. This is not allowed in developed countries (U. K) but still exists in other parts of the world. Mainly in other countries like Palestine and Pakistan it is legal. Honour killing depends and links a lot on the society and community a family may live in as opinions from others and what they think of you is considered a lot. Community influences the practice of Honour killing in diverse ways like family.
It has been observed that community is a vital element in constructing so-called honour. One of the lawyers expresses honour killing as a community sanctioned practice that is acceptable by the 90% community. Families that believe in honour killing say it is traditional and is allowed in some cultures and religions. They believe honour is the most important thing when living your life and with shame on your family, how could you go on living a life in shame? A life with a lost reputation and no respect is not worth living.
However, life isn’t all about shame but about happiness. It should be everyone’s individual decision with who they may wish to marry as it is their own life and, not any one else’s to live. If the person they choose to marry brings happiness to their life, then they are better off with that. Families from Palestine or Pakistan base their family life on trust and are very much against betrayal. They feel that the only way to get rid of their family’s shame is to kill. But how could they go on living a life knowing that they killed their own daughter or family member?
How could they go on to live a normal life without all the guilt that should fall upon them and make them think? Killing someone for a reason like that is bound to bring more shame on the family and be the worst of the worst deed anyone could be capable to do. They would also be giving themselves a bad name to other areas as they would think that all families and the men are like that in these those countries, when that is not the case as it depends on the family background. Men perceive killing is the true way of retaining and purifying family honour.
They inherently perceive killing is the strongest message for the rest of women in their family. The representatives of a village which is known for honour killing told that 90% victims of honour killing were being killed while the rest of women escaped from their families, even if these victims survivors returned to their native communities after 20 years, they would be killed. Similarly, some of the victims survivors reserve sole choice to seek shelter in the local houses where they certainly become susceptible to abuse and even be sell off to somewhere else.
However, some fortune cases appealed to courts often halt because of intricate judicial procedures. On the other hand, the women that are killed after being declared as Kari (those who betray the family), are not buried in the general public graveyard and no funeral prayer is offered for them The biased laws of the country ordinance reinforced women to further violence and oppression. In Pakistan, honour is attached to women’s sexuality and viewed as a reflection of patriarchal mindsets.
While power has a weaker association with honour because the motive behind the killing is to maintain the status of one’s family within the community. Honour killing ranks the role and status of women in society being least superior to men and how they live through poor and appalling treatment by their own families. “I could be in danger, even though I am now thousands of miles away. In my village I am officially dead; if I were to go back today they would try to kill me a second time for the honour of my family.
It’s the law of the land. It’s because I am a woman. ” This is said from a woman who was fortunate to escape her death and she re-told her story in a book, ‘Burned Alive’. From this, we can see how scared and frightened she must have been and felt for her life was at risk. The story of a girl who tells the story of thousands of women who live in similar villages, whereby as females, they are classed as worthless beings, valued lower than the family’s livestock, which could bring coin.
The story highlights the naivety of these women who accepted abuse and beatings on a regular occurrence, sometimes for even the smallest of mistakes, whilst their brothers or male neighbours were allowed the full realm of freedom. Data indicated from research was from newspaper reported cases in 2004 for methods used for honour killing. It shows that mostly women are killed through gunshot (800) which is perceived the easiest method of killing. Sometime men also use axe in killing women (170), while flogging (66), stabbing (82) and other killing methods were rarely used.
The motive behind the killing of women was not to hold power but to get rid of taunting and pressure exerted by the surroundings. They kill women in order to stop gossip about female family members, and avoid having fingers raised against their family so they feel that it is only for her benefit. In some cases, mothers have been observed a part of planning in killing her daughter but mostly she seems supportive to her daughter. Mother as feminist entity, has been viewed as helpless in the culturally constructed masculine structure.
Even in some cases, mother was also killed while supporting her daughter. Parents are rarely involved in killing their daughter whereas husbands, brothers and in laws have been observed as killers in majority cases. From a research carried out by government in Palestine; statistics show that 91% are male that kill and 69% shows that it is the actual relative that kill whilst the other is said to be anonymous as family may set up other people to do it instead.