Home | About | Help | Log InRSS
CQ Press home pageCQ Global Researcher: Exploring International Perspectives  
Report Summary April 19, 2011
 Current Issue Cover Photo

Honor Killings
Can murders of women and girls be stopped?
By Robert Kiener

Each week brings horrific new headlines stating that, somewhere around the world, a woman or girl has been killed by a male relative for allegedly bringing dishonor upon her family. According to the U.N.. . . .

Read the Full Report (Subscription Required)
Buy Report PDF PDF


The Issues
  • Are honor killings a form of domestic violence?
  • Are governments doing enough to deter honor killings?
  • Is the international community doing enough to combat honor killings?


Pro/Con
Are Muslims being unfairly stigmatized in honor crime coverage?

Pro Pro
Rana Husseini
Jordanian journalist; Author, Murder in the Name of Honor. Written for CQ Global Researcher, April 2011
Phyllis Chesler
Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies, Richmond College, City University of New York. Written for CQ Global Researcher, April 2011


Spotlight
Intense societal pressure drives many honor killers.

What would lead a father or brother to murder a beloved daughter or sister, in the name of honor? The loss of honor in some traditional societies can have a devastating impact on a family, and perpetrators of honor crimes often say intense community pressure drove them to murder a loved one:

  • “I had to protect my children,” said an anguished Palestinian mother of nine after putting a plastic bag over her daughter's head and slitting her wrists because the teen had brought shame on the family by being raped and impregnated by a brother. “This is the only way I could protect my family's honor.”Footnote 1

  • “Honour is the only thing a man has,” said a sorrowful Pakistani man, who had strangled his 23-year-old daughter after she ran off with a man from a rival tribe. “I can still hear her screams; she was my favorite daughter. I want to destroy my hands and end my life.”Footnote 2

  • “I did it to wash with her blood the family honor … and in response to the will of society that would not have had any mercy on me if I didn't,” said a 25-year-old Palestinian, explaining why he had hanged his sister. “Society taught us from childhood that blood is the only solution to wash the honor.”Footnote 3

According to the London-based Centre for Social Cohesion — a nonpartisan organization that studies radicalization and extremism in Britain and studied honor killings in immigrant communities in the U.K. — families with damaged honor can experience a variety of consequences, including:Footnote 4

  • Ostracism — The family can be ignored or ostracized by the rest of the community. Their children may be rejected at school by fellow members of their cultural, ethnic or religious group.

  • Economic damage — The family may receive smaller dowries for their children. In some cases, shops and businesses can be boycotted or even physically attacked by community members who believe their collective honor has also been tarnished.

  • Political consequences — Community leaders and politicians can lose votes, prestige and influence.

  • Loss of self-esteem — Family members can become depressed or suicidal. Feelings of shame can hamper their interactions with neighbors and friends and negatively affect their work, possibly causing further damage to their social standing.

[1] Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, “Palestinian girl's murder highlights growing number of ‘honor killings,’” Knight Ridder, Nov. 16, 2003.

Footnote:
1. Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, “Palestinian girl's murder highlights growing number of ‘honor killings,’” Knight Ridder, Nov. 16, 2003.

[2] Robert Fisk, “Invisible Massacre: The Crimewave that Shames the World,” The Independent, Sept. 7, 2010, www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/invisible-massacre-the-crimewave-that-shames-the-world-2072201.html.

Footnote:
2. Robert Fisk, “Invisible Massacre: The Crimewave that Shames the World,” The Independent, Sept. 7, 2010, www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/invisible-massacre-the-crimewave-that-shames-the-world-2072201.html.

[3] Yotam Feldner, “‘Honor’ Murders — Why the Perps Get off Easy,” Middle East Quarterly, December 2000, pp. 41–50.

Footnote:
3. Yotam Feldner, “‘Honor’ Murders — Why the Perps Get off Easy,” Middle East Quarterly, December 2000, pp. 41–50.

[4] “Crimes of the Community: Honour-Based Violence in the UK,” Centre for Social Cohesion, 2010, www.socialcohesion.co.uk/files/1229624550_1.pdf.

Footnote:
4. “Crimes of the Community: Honour-Based Violence in the UK,” Centre for Social Cohesion, 2010, www.socialcohesion.co.uk/files/1229624550_1.pdf.


Document Citation
Kiener, R. (2011, April 1). Honor killings. CQ Global Researcher, 5, 183-208. Retrieved from http://library.cqpress.com/globalresearcher/
Document ID: cqrglobal2011041900
Document URL: http://library.cqpress.com/globalresearcher/cqrglobal2011041900


Issue Tracker for Related Reports
Crime
Apr. 19, 2011  Honor KillingsGlobal Researcher
Sep. 2010  Crime in Latin AmericaGlobal Researcher

Browse Related Topics
Global Issues