...investigators were already handling honor killing incidents in 1989, and likely even before that. In all cases, the victims were daughters, wives or sisters, killed by fathers (sometimes mothers), husbands or brothers for "dishonoring" the family: by requesting a divorce, by dating before marriage, by refusing to accept an arranged spouse, by having non-Muslim friends.
What no one mentions, however, is the other dirty secret of Muslim families, even in the West: honor violence--the abuse that results not in death, but devastation. Tantamount, at times, to torture, honor violence occurs far more frequently than honor killings, with effects that in some ways could be described as worse.
How bad is it? In 2008 British studies counted nearly 17,000 incidents of honor violence annually, including kidnappings, sexual abuse and murder. Every week, according to an article in the Independent, British organizations rescued three girls from Islamabad--some of them as young as 11--sent there by their parents to be married. These girls often are raped by their much older husbands, who may also use the marriage to immigrate to Europe
, continuing the abusive treatment of their brides there as well. Usually, too, the daughters of such couples are kept at home, forbidden to live the lives of Western women, and in turn, married off themselves, probably to a family cousin also in Islamabad--and so the chain continues...
It is a vague term, “honor violence.” But it is not, as some might argue, equivalent to domestic abuse; and it is crucial to stop equating the two, both for the sake of the victims and in order to better identify--and prosecute--the abusers.
Unlike domestic violence, honor violence revolves around a set of religious codes, aimed at depriving women (and sometimes men) of freedom and at subjugating free will. As one Dutch-Afghan woman put it when a neighbor was murdered by her husband: “She deserved it. She knew the rules.”
More importantly, honor violence--and honor killings--carry a seal of approval from the family and community at large: Indeed, often those who beat their daughters or lock them in their rooms, or burn their faces to disfigure them, do so reluctantly, under pressure from the family. And therefore it becomes perhaps the most underreported crime in the West--including the U.S...
New York’s Sakhi Center, which recently found that over 40% of the South Asian women living around Boston had suffered family violence
... So why does the public at large know so little about it?
Enter the political correctness of the media, of editors who refuse to state the true religious motivations behind such despicable crimes, who treat them like “ordinary” domestic violence cases, or--worse--refuse to cover them at all.
But the truth is: Where there are honor killings, there is violence--and more of it than we know...