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Death for Dishonour: Lie, Steal, Cheat.

In: English and Literature

Submitted By bkelley5
Words 1884
Pages 8
Brittany S. Kelley
Ms. Leshia Stolt
English 105
Research Paper RD
28 April 2009
Death for Dishonour: Lie, Steal, Cheat. Ranjit was 16 when she discovered that her parents were planning to take her to India to marry a much older man. Terrified, she confided in her teacher who contacted a group that helps victims of forced marriages. Taking her courage in both hands, Ranjit (not her real name) went into hiding. Her Sikh family tracked her down and kidnapped her, forcing her to call the police when they got her home to say that it was all a mistake. (Langdon-Down) In the story above, the group against forced marriages informed the police that something might happen to Ranjit. The police then went to her house and saved her from being a victim of a possible honour killing. Although, Ranjit was saved from an honour killing, there are other women and girls that are being killed in the name of “honour”. This is a very important issue that should be addressed now because if we do not, ‘honour killings’ will be considered acceptable as the years go by. Although honour killings are considered a traditional or cultural practice, it is a crime and the perpetrator(s) should be punished. “An honour crime can be defined as any act of violence and abuse, actual or threatened, perpetrated against individuals, mainly women, by male members of the family and community in defense of their honour” (Welchman and Hossain 210). Families and communities commit honour killings because they assumed their relative or member of the community was being defiant or was not abiding by the rules. Regardless of whether or not the accusations are right or wrong, they kill them for their dishonorable actions. The perpetrator(s) shows no form of guilt because they do not think they have done anything wrong and see themselves as the victim because there public image is thrashed due to the assumptions about the victim or the decisions they made. (Maleh) Majority of the time the victims of honour killings have been women and young girls. "Over 5000 women and girls are killed every year by family members in so-called 'honour killings', according to the UN” (Ginger). The coercion of honour is defined through power. That power is played through the role of gender. Women are targeted in honour killings because they have roles to play in their life. Their obligations are to be mothers, daughters, and wives to the men in their lives and to obey them. (Welchman and Hossain 47). From 2004 to 2006 the number of honour crimes rose from 14 occurrences to 32 in just a year. (“Rise in ‘honour killing’ Noted in Palestinian Areas.”)This is the highest amount of honour killings ever reported, but there is a wide possibility that there are more honour killings than the reported. There is no trace of how far these killings go back into history or how many have been killed due to honor killings. Unfortunately, most honor killings will go unreported because the people who are committing theses killings are from their family or people from the community. Women are not seen as equals to males, but as a commodity to the men in their lives which is why they dictate their lives. (Mayell) In honour killings, family members play a major role in the murder and they are usually carried out with more than one relative. Preferably the men in the family carry out the honour killing, but sometimes woman also serve as an accomplice. A woman’s modesty is what the family takes a lot of pride in. When a woman or girl is not modest or follows the rules, they become a disgrace to her family, which leads to her being murdered. (Sororicide/Filiacide: Homicide for Family Honour [and Comments and Reply]) If the woman or girl escapes from her family, her family gives their extended family permission to kill her if she refuses to come back for her honour killing. The community is considered the extended family and they are an influence on the family. If the family did not plan to commit the honour killing on a particular female in the family, the member of the community will persuade them to follow out the honour killing because not only is she considered to have shamed her family, but her community also. (Prusher) When the family of the woman or girl is unable to find her, they give the members of the community the right to follow out the honour killing if she is found. In other circumstances, the community takes it upon themselves to kill the woman or girl if they see her doing things that are dishonorable to her family or the community. (Mayell) Honour killings by members of the community perform them in front of the community with methods such as stoning, stabbing, and burning them alive.
Honour killings alone are obscene, but the mutilation before death is beyond vicious. (Al-Maleh) Different methods are used to inflict mental and physical pain on the victim before they die. There are so many methods used in honour killings that are inflicted on the victims that are inhumane. The methods of honour killings are determined by how harsh the punishment should be for their actions. They also consider whether or not she was single or married. (Sororicide/Filiacide: Homicide for Family Honour [and Comments and Reply]) Stoning or lapidating is a method used in honour killings that have been used throughout history in many countries. Not only has stoning been used in honour killings by the community, but as a form of punishment in some judicial systems. They are wrapped in sheets then they are buried into a whole, where they are stoned by the community until they die. (“What is Stoning?”) Being burned alive is the most barbaric method of torture and painful way of dying. Many communities usually perform this right outside of their village for everyone to see. With these obscene methods and more like them, you would expect every country to outlaw honour killings, but unfortunately this is not the case. Every countries judicial system varies on their rulings on different crimes, but there is no excuse for not sentencing the murderer of an honour killing. Pakistan and Iraqi Kurdistan are just two of the many countries, which judicial systems do not rule in honour killings properly. The “police and prosecutors share the same views as the honour killers” which is why the judicial system, majority of the time does not sentence the perpetrators of honour killings. (“Suicide or 'Honour' Killing?”) In Pakistan women’s right are not even recognized and have a lot of unreported honour killings. ("Honor Killings in Pakistan.") The judicial system in Pakistan has created laws to stop the increase of honour killings, but instead it created a bigger problem. The judicial system considered in death that was no by natural causes, a form of murder. Unlike declaring a death as murder, in honour killings, the victim would have to be raped first for it to be considered a crime of honour. The judicial system in Iraq is based on the Iraqi Penal Code. The laws do not see women having equal standards and they are to be obedient and carry high moral views. (Welchman and Hossain 211) In the Iraqi law, there is sexism because depending on who does the crime, the sentence is different. When a man kills his wife or daughter because she is believed to have had sex before marriage, the maximum sentence he receives is three years in jail. As for if a woman was to kill her husband for cheating, she will receive a murder charge, which will more likely be the death penalty. (Spring) Regardless, of who commits the crime, the law should be equal and not show favoritism due to gender. Many families and communities feel that the judicial system has no right in making decision in the ruling of honour killings because it is a family problem. Regardless, whether families and communities support this statement, there is no excuse for the judicial system not putting an end to the community trying to take justice into their own hands. In some cases, even if the perpetrator(s) is arrested for committing an honour killing, there will not be a fair trial. In honour killings, the perpetrator usually does not even go to court for a trial because the honour killing does not get reported. On the other hand, when the honour killing is reported and the perpetrator is on trial, he/she will be sentenced for a short period of time, and then the motion will be withdrawn by the judge. (Welchman and Hossain 148) This is happening in so many countries, because some people in the judicial system agree with the reasons for honour killings and are not creating laws to fully ban honour killings. The sentencing for honour killings should consist of doing the time for the crime. The more evidence you have linking someone to the honour killing, should determine what the sentence should be for the crime. The law should also take into mind, whether or not the perpetrator was competent and understood what they were doing and there motif. There should be a fair trial and the outcome should be prison or death. The prison term at the least should be 10 years to death without the possibility of parole. Depending on the severity of number of honour killings should be taking into consideration when ruling the verdict of those who took part in the honour killing. No murderer should be left to continue living their lives as if they have not done anything wrong because that woman or girl no longer has that life to live. The first attempt to putting an end to honour killings is to address that there is a problem. The state is not taking responsibilities for the honour killings and they are also letting the perpetrators off easy with just a short time sentence in prison at the most or not at all. The U.N. should create a rule where countries will have to sentence anyone who is involved in any form of an honour killing, because it is not the same as a crime of passion or at the spur of the moment. Honour killings are premeditated and there is no reason why people who premeditate a crime receive a lesser sentence than those who commit a crime in the spur of the moment. Without being educated on honour killings that are happening across the world, it will be acceptable more and more each day. If magazines and television continue to attract the large amounts of young adults, there will be a shortage of information known about honour killings and there will not be a way to find a solution to stopping this global issue. It is better to know what the global issues are that are happening across the world than not to, because then you can make the change to put an end to it. Taking a stand in the fight against honour killings, challenges us to take on responsibility and become humane, which sets an example for others to follow.

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