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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » 'Honour' killings

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Author Topic: 'Honour' killings
$uMMeR
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I was just helping my folks clean out a pile of newspapers stacked in the kitchen when I came across a magazine with a very interesting article...

In many countries throughout the world, there exists a deed called 'honour' killings.

This is not unheard of in Jordan, and are actually quite common.

It could happen after a girl has attempted to run away with a boy, in cases where a girl commits adultery or even filed for divorce from her husband. In any case, after a girl has committed a "shameful act", a male member of her family will kill her.

From the Malaysian Edition of Marie Claire March 2000:

quote:
Sixteen-year-old Yasmeen Abdullah was raped in March 1998 and reported the attack to the police. They immediately imprisoned her for her own safety. This is a common practice. Women may also resort to living behind a veil for protection. Since Yasmeen was no longer a virgin, she could expect violence from the men in her own family. After three days in jail, Yasmeen was released when her father signed a guarantee, required by the prison, stating he wouldn't harm his daughter. However, when her brother, Sarhan, saw Yasmeen again, he shot and killed her. "I was proud to do it to clear my family's name," he says. "It's better to have one person die than have the whole family die from shame."

It goes on to say:

quote:
According to Sarhan, his sister facilitated the rape by being in the wrong place. He received a six-month sentence. A year later, Sarhan is viewed as a hero. "Now the men in my family can sit with other men without losing face," he says.

That particular incident happened in Pakistan. In Jordan, where one in four homicides is an "honour" killing, men would usually serve only three to 12 months for this crime.

However, they don't only happen in Muslim countries. Again, from the article:-

quote:
In St Louis, Missouri, Tina Isa, a 16-year-old honours student, was stabbed to death by her father when she took a part-time job after school at a fast-food restaurant. Why did he kill her? Because she had offended his honour after he had insisted her place was at home.

If you want, you can clickhere to read the story of another "honour" killing victim, Samia Sarwar, a 29-year-old law student and mother of two, find out more about "honour" killings, and even lend your support to their campaign against these "honour" killings.

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Posts: 194 | From: city of Anghelz | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LilBlueSmurf
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Hmm ... as wrong as it seems for us, we have to remember that it's their culture. This is sort of along the lines of FGM, is it not?

Both go for "protecting" the women, while it really only serves the men. But women aren't really valued there. Men rule their world. It's alright for them to kill their mom (sister, aunt, neice, whatever), if they're doing it to "save face" for the male relatives.

Hmm ... There wasn't really a question in there so i'm just commenting on it. My 2c ... as usual


Posts: 7168 | From: Ontario | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
$uMMeR
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I was pretty sure someone was going to say that.

Part of their culture? If you mean in the sense it's part of their ideals in countries like Pakistan and Jordan, then yes, I agree with you. Another rule for "protecting" the women while it really only serves the men.

Then what about the case of Tina Isa in Missouri?

I cannot imagine "honour" killings to be part of the ideals in America.

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Posts: 194 | From: city of Anghelz | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dzuunmod
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I'm a relativist about most things. I mean, if a baby needs an organ transplant, but the baby's parents' religious beliefs don't mesh with that procedure, I can understand that, and let it go. They're not killing the baby per se...

But to even suggest that actual murder is a legitimate part of a given culture makes me extremely uncomfortable. This seems to me to fall into the category of human rights abuses. They're killing the women because something that the women did, which didn't physically harm anyone else, doesn't fit in with the beliefs of the leaders of that society. (And yes, I firmly believe it starts with the leaders.)

Having sex with isn't something that should be criminalized in my books. I'm a universalist, here.

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Posts: 1515 | From: Montreal, Quebec, Canada | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
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I'm with Dzuun on this. Cultural relativism really only goes so far, and there are actually international mandates for human rights issues.
Posts: 68006 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Bobolink
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I would like to point out that cultural values don't change overnight. 100 years ago, Pakistanis and Jordanis would have not debated this point. Now it is being openly questioned. Agreed while the murder is now recognised the punishments are still mostly symbolic. But there was a time when this was not considered murder but justifiable homicide.

Profound changes in culture do not happen overnight. Upper Canada (Ontario) abolished slavery at the first sitting of the provincial legislature in 1791. However, over 200 years later, racism, although not institutionalised, still remains.

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Posts: 3442 | From: Stirling, Ontario, Canada | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Milke
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It's part of my culture for girls to starve themselves thin, for gay people to be attacked or even killed for their orientation, for black people to be treated as criminals without having even done anything, for people to freeze or starve to death in big cities because the governement just can't come up with the money for shelters (but tax cuts matter!), but that doesn't mean that any of those things are okay! I know things aren't going to change overnight, but that's no reason not to start fighting them, doing what we can to start the changes, now!
Posts: 5122 | From: I *came* from the land of ice and snow | Registered: Aug 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
$uMMeR
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Thanks, Milke.

You said it much more better than I would've

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Posts: 194 | From: city of Anghelz | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lin
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I have read quite a bit about this topic and the only thing that runs through my mind is how depraved this is.

I watched an episode of Oprah which dealed with this topic and they actually interviewed the man who killed his sister and it was sick watching how he was cheered and hailed as some hero.

I am actually quite shocked by the honour killing in Missouri. I probably don't know much about how things work in the States but I always thought that the culture there was far more liberal than countries like Singapore and even Malaysia.

And one thing to note, it is not only sex that can lead to an honour killing. In Jordan, should a woman stand too close to a man, talk to a stranger who might just be asking for directions, her family has every "right" to kill her to protect their honour.


Posts: 2294 | From: Singapore | Registered: Dec 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
bettie
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In recent articles I have also read that being raped can lead to an honour killing.

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Posts: 1060 | From: Canada | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Aquamarine
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Yes, being raped can lead to an honour killing. I find this disturbing, and more so because my parents hail from a country in which atrocities like this are considered part of the culture. That country is Afghanistan; its radical "government" oppresses women to such an extent that suicide rates are growing by the day. (This has probably been posted about before, but I haven't checked the boards ) Men, too, feel the effects of harsh regime, but they are not nearly as downtrodden as Afghan women. Every day I am thankful that my parents emigrated before the country's bloody revolution, which occurred before I was born.
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Celtic Daisy
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I think stuff like that is horrible. I can't believe someone would kill there sister or daughter or mother or anyone in there family because they were raped. How can they not be considered the victim? Families, i don't care where they live, should stick by eachother and help them get through the ordeal, not kill them, because it's seems dishonourable.

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Posts: 1747 | From: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lee
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Only a diseased culture would endorse the murder of one family member by another. If this sickness is indicative of the culture as a whole then what exists there is not a culture at all, it is barbarism.

Now some people might get offended from my saying this because they've been taught that we should respect other cultures regardless of whether we agree with them or not. This is known as multiculturalism, the idea that all cultures are equally valid. Needless to say it is patently false. It is a response to other ideas that are just as false, such as racism, bigotry and intolerance. In some ways it is the exact opposite of these in that they all more or less say that another culture is inherently inferior regardless of the truth, while multiculturalism says that another cultures are inherently equal regardless of the truth. In both cases the truth is disregarded.

Honor killings will end when the culture in these places improves to the point that it is no longer accepted and is seen for what it is, premeditated murder. How long that will take and even if it will happen in my lifetime I don't know. The best way I can think of to encourage change is to publicize what is going on. Show the world the awful truth about this and perhaps it will change.

Lee


Posts: 175 | From: Tempe, AZ USA | Registered: Jul 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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