Honour Killing: the Feminist Discourse

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Honour Killing: The Feminist Discourse

Honour killings have always been one of the world’s most hidden and heinous crimes, women are often murdered in all parts of the world for even slight rumour of dishonouring the family name. Hundreds of women of all ages are killed in the name of honour- most cases go unreported, and almost all go unpunished. Although a common occurrence in many Middle Eastern countries, this practice is virtually unknown in the western world, leaving millions unaware of the brutality of these killings.

Honour killings can be defined as the killing of any person(s) to protect family honour. The majority of the victims are female. In Middle Eastern countries, women are often times seen as the property of the men. In such environments, marriage and motherhood is the ultimate path to status attainment. “The concept of ownership has turned women into a commodity which can be exchanged, bought, and sold”. In addition to being seen as a possession, women have the cumber of not blackening the family name. In the Phatan language, the title given to these killings is “Karo Kari.” Karo is masculine, giving the label to the adulterer. Any woman that is even rumoured to be dishonourable is named Kari. Many traditions have a very strong presumption about a woman's chastity and are required to follow strict rules in order to maintain respect. It is mostly such social pressure that encourages families to resort to honour killings. Although women are mostly targeted, homosexual men too have fallen prey to such monstrous killings. According to BBC, hundreds of gay Iraqi men have been murdered since 2004. As per CEDAW “…Discrimination against women violates the principles of equality of rights and respect for human dignity, is an obstacle to the participation of women, on equal terms with men, in the political, social, economic and cultural life of their countries…”But according to Dr. Shahrzad Mojab, a University of Toronto professor of women's...
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