We hear the term a lot in the media – ‘Honour Killing’ – but with every mention is the implication that it’s a far away issue. The idea that only people in the East do it, and that’s just not true. It happens everywhere, and honestly it’s scary as hell.
Honour Killing tend to be committed by close communities, family members and are murders that are done for the sake of protecting someone’s honour or cultural belief. The victims can be both men and women, but the latter is more commonly reported. Reasons for this horrific practice to occur “can include refusing an arranged marriage, entering a relationship with someone disapproved of, renouncing faith and behaving or dressing in a way thought to be inappropriate.”
Essentially it’s a way of policing peoples behaviours and typically ensuring that women don’t act in a way that their family disapproves of. Which can range from a lot of the points mentioned above, but premarrital sex, and not listening to their fathers is a big one – sometimes these actions are seen as bringing ‘shame’ on to the family. Hence the act of honour killing is supposed to wipe their family from that shame – but in reality it’s cold blooded murder and it needs to stop.
The toxic mentality of controlling family members through the fear of death and abuse is honestly fucked up in every single way. The fact that murder and acid attacks are a common fear amongst people in some communities really brings into perspective how common this is, and why it needs to be stopped.
We could sing and shout about how education will bring about a slow change, but in all honesty it won’t take long enough to help those directly affected right now. We need to bring about awareness and stop sweeping this issue underneath the rug – we also need to stop seeing this issue as the problem of ‘other cultures’ and recognise it’s a real fear that effects enough people for it to be everyones problem.
Honour killings are truly horrific and scary and that’s why this needs to stop! By calling out this behaviour we can also simultaneously create safe spaces for victims, or those who could become potential victims!