Shame. Honour. Respect. The three words nearly every south asian woman has heard in her household and has been valued more than necessary or reasonable. The lucky ones are only reminded verbally of how important it is to uphold the family’s honour. As sad as it is to say, the unfortunate ones are physically attacked, murdered and are victimized for breaching the family’s value of honour. Many women across the world of all cultural backgrounds become victims of traumatic attacks such as acid attacks, female genital mutilation, sexual abuse and sadly victims of murder. Why? Most importantly, was the victims act severe enough for somebody to decide that her life must come to an end? 99.99% of the time the answer is no. To be honest I personally don’t think that 1% even exists. The only person who believes the reason to end a woman’s life is justifiable is believed and seen by the attacker. Reason? Because she failed to uphold the family’s respect. She acted in a ‘shameful’ way dare I say. She didn’t abide by the family’s values. And of course the famous one, she brought shame to the family and community.
The problem with south asian families is they would rather suffer anything else than being disrespected or have any act that will tarnish the family’s reputation. I focus on south asians as I am a south asian woman myself and can relate immensely. But this isn’t to say that this doesn’t apply to women from other backgrounds. Of course. I am sure many women can relate to this. The funny thing is that people love to blame it on religion. ‘But this is what my religion says, to do anything to protect the family’s honour and be respected’. Pfft. It’s nothing else but culture. Culture is socially constructed to whatever people may wish it to be. Those that have the audacity to blame religion are simply deceiving themselves and others.
Samaira Nazir. 25 year old graduate died after trying to run away from her family to marry an Afghan aslyum seeker. She was dragged by her older brother who with help from a cousin stabbed her to death 18 times.
Shafilea Ahmed. 17 year old girl who was murdered by her parents and had her body dismembered because they believe she was becoming too ‘westernized’ and did not agree to the marriage that was arranged by her parents.
The list of honour killings and attacks can go on forever. These two stood out for me. Why? Due to the unreasonable, petty and pathetic excuse these families provided to ‘justify’ their reasons. It’s sad to say that I don’t know how many extreme honour killings and attacks have to take place in order for people to realise this is a vital issue and is practiced on a regular basis behind closed doors. As a Criminal Justice graduate, my interest heavily lies within domestic violence, sexual abuse, honour killings, forced marriages and many other areas. My post today was heavily inspired by the short film called Honour Diaries. A group of Womens Rights Advocates getting together to discuss the seriousness of this issue. It’s a must watch to learn more about what women go through in various countries.
My reason for this blogpost today? Simply because…
“I raise my voice- not so I can shout but so that those without a voice can be heard…we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.”