Human Rights Watch defines an honour killing as ‘An act of vengeance, usually death, committed by male family members against female family members, who are held to have brought dishonour upon the family.’
Recently in Kingston Upon Thames an Indian Muslim teenager involved in a relationship with an Arab man was kidnapped, raped and murdered. She was found stuffed in a fridge with her throat slit and another female was also kidnapped and raped but escaped. Two men have been arrested and will appear at the old bailey on 21st of August.
There’s no honour in kidnapping.
There’s no honour in slitting someone’s throat for no reason.
There’s no honour in rape.
During Theresa May’s first PMQ appearance she stated that ‘there is absolutely no honour in so-called honour killings and they should be referred to as acts of terror.’ I certainly agree that the terminology used in describing these heinous crimes is misleading. The word ‘honour’ has positive connotations and in countries such as India and Pakistan a surprisingly large proportion of the populations support death for disgrace. The perception that ‘honour killings’ exist stems from a male dominated warped mentality born through insecurity. Men have a instinctive nature to want to control, and when you add to this instinct sexual repression and religion, men can end up carrying out crazy acts which in their own mind is justifiable. The mentally disturbed kill for fun, kill for ego and kill because they are weak, so lets not package this disturbed behaviour in anything logical and sane.
Culture has big part to play in honour killings which have nomadic roots where populations tended to rely on fear and aggression in a largely lawless society. The acted this way to protect themselves from loss of property and in those times that meant women too. The problem with certain cultural traditions is that they are outdated and no longer apply to the mechanisms of modern society. In many cultures where honour is of central value, men are the sources/protectors of honour and women can only destroy it. Losing face in the community is devastating to many in these cultures, and once again we see how women are treated worse than second class citizens and murdered like cattle. If someone or a culture bases their self-worth on money, appearances, cultural practices and religious values then killing a woman for being in a relationship with someone of another culture can become tolerant behaviour.
The inappropriate use of language is important here because we are using the word honour and attaching it to the act of murder, and due to the cultural context it is looked at as more acceptable. The moment someone uses the term honour killing we go ‘oh so there’s a reason why she got killed’, when in complete objective reality it doesn’t matter what a female does in terms of her relationship choices, murder is murder. The sad thing about this is, by highlighting the issue without challenging the concept those living the life of relationship suppression will continue to be scared, and forced to enter marriages and relationships with people they don’t want, which is heartbreaking. I hope anyone who is going through this has the strength to be strong as an individual and follow their heart. Crazy people will be crazy but fuck them!
If you want to have an arranged marriage then great, go for it but if you don’t and the people around you are forcing you, leave. Anyone who pressurises a family member into a marriage or relationship isn’t family and doesn’t have your best interest at heart. Anyone who doesn’t accept your choice of partner shouldn’t be in your life and if the communities around you are so shallow and insecure to go along with this then you’re better off not being a part of it, you’ve risen above. It’s sad that there are 10-15 honour killings a year in the UK , hundreds a year in Pakistan and over 1000 a year in India. I truly believe this is something that will soon be eradicated from our society but what we should not do is give these evil people who carry out and support these atrocities any level of understanding. Listen to Theresa and take the word ‘honour’ out of the description. Its murder, fuck the cultural association. The strength in tragedy should always lie with the victims or potential victims and they should choose to be with whoever they please. Arab, lesbian, farmer or politician allow love to be the deciding factor in your life long relationship choices and not your sad nosy Mother, weak confused father or creepy uncle and brother. As said before if you’re in one of these situations, get out of it, be free and grow in an environment of nurture. The world is bigger than your postcode so take it as an opportunity explore, because that’s what we’re here for.