By Fariha Khan
Dr. Ayesha Nouman
Stop Honor Killings
غیرت کے نام پر قتل بند کرو
ऑनर किलिंग बंद करो
The United Nations estimates that 5,000 women are victims of honor killings every year. These women are killed in order to “cleanse family honor,” after an individual has brought perceived shame or dishonor to a family or community by violating social norms.
“Honor” killings defined as “the murder of a woman by a close family member or partner as a result of (suspected or alleged) shame being brought on a family by the action (a suspicion or allegation will be enough) of the woman”
Honor killings punish women for bringing “disgrace” upon their families, for example by refusing forced marriages, being the victim of rape, getting divorced, having sexual relationships, or engaging in adultery. Although honor killings are not a new phenomenon, they have been increasing in number in recent years.
A significant reason for this increase in honor killings is because women and girls are becoming more aware of their rights; for example, they are not accepting forced marriage and want to have the freedom to choose their future spouses, their education and jobs, and to be present in public life shoulder to shoulder with men.
Abolish laws that discriminate against women, which are the root cause of gender-based violence against women. Additionally, include laws that safeguard men’s and women’s equal rights to ensure that honor killings of women and girls are prohibited. The need to put an end to honor killings is urgent. If we do not act today, we will see more honor killings in the future… “Stop Honor Killings.”
While honor killings occur in many places around the world, in Pakistan, the problem is particularly acute. Though 1,000 people are estimated to be victims of honor killings in the country every year, the true number is believed to be much higher. However, accurate statistics are hard to come by as honor killings are often misconstrued as other crimes, covered up, or simply not reported.
With the rates of honor killings on the rise in Pakistan, that’s why the activists urge the government should launch a strong crackdown against the perpetrators of such violence by implementing laws in their true spirit. It should also make new laws and amends the existing ones, keeping in view the grim.
The ruthless practice of honor killing is not only prevalent in Pakistan but the Pakistanis who live overseas also seem to follow this tradition, making sure they adopt everything they leave behind in their home country. There are so many horrifying stories of honor killings that Pakistani girls are subjected to and have to live with wounds of their family’s injustice on their hearts forever.
Sacrificing the life of a girl to save their honor has been an evil increasingly marring Pakistani households. The male members of a family prefer to kill a girl who is found eloping with a boy whom she wants to marry out of her choice.
In Pakistan, many women are not allowed freely to marry a person of their choice though the religion puts no strict restrictions on it. Observer say that given the insular attitudes of most Pakistani parents deeply rooted cultural norms, a girl is forcefully married to someone as soon as she hits puberty or finds herself in a relationship. If she tries to refuse the proposal by protesting against it or leaves her home to save her life, she is found being humiliated to brutal death.
“Honor killings” persist in Pakistan. Almost always, the victim is a woman; the killer a man. The woman’s offense is invariably refusing to bend to the will of her family. She is a sister who falls in love with a man not of her family’s choosing. She is a daughter who refuses to agree to an arranged marriage, sometimes to a man old enough to be her father. She is a wife who can no longer stay in an abusive marriage and divorces her husband.
Addressing these issues, whether in Pakistan, or anywhere else in the world, is challenging because the causes are complex. But like so many other social problems, positive change must start at home. Too often, the home is where the use of violence becomes normalized. It is where the citizen gets conditioned to believe that violence is an acceptable, particularly to excuse violence that is carried out to protect perceived social standing, national honor, or religious sentiments.
Honor crimes fester in the dark privacy of the home. It is time to expose these abuses to the light of public scrutiny and the law. A number of states have outlawed honor killings and other forms of gender-based violence. But those laws require effective implementation, police and other law enforcement professionals must be trained on gender-based violence. And victims must be confident in the ability of the police and other authorities to assist them.
The education system is also a key battleground, because it is one of the rare public spaces where young minds can be empowered to challenge gender stereotypes and made aware that violence in the home is unacceptable. Public figures, and especially men, must openly speak out: not only to condemn honor killings, but to acknowledge that these abuses are not random or sporadic incidents but a much wider problem.
Honor killings are nothing more than a cold-blooded murders driven by a warped sense of tradition and misguided notions of pride. Honor killings are not honorable by God. They are driven by ignorance and ego and nothing more. The honor is… to love, protect and defend….There is not honor in murder… Stop Honor Killings.
There is no honor in honor killing. Women are the most essential part of our society and I believe in their empowerment, protection and emancipation so that they can equally contribute towards development and prosperity of our country.