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Honor Killing

by Syeda Nayyaraiin Batool Rizvi
syeda nayyarain batool

Honor killing, often referred to as “karo-kari” locally in Pakistan, is an extremely serious and sensitive issue. It entails the murder of a family member, often a woman, believed to have brought shame or dishonor to their family name. In essence, it’s a form of family-based domestic violence.

These murders stem from deep-rooted cultural norms and beliefs. Honor killings are often driven by the notion that the victim’s real or perceived immoral actions have tarnished their family’s reputation. This includes behaviors such as seeking independence, dressing unconventionally, entering love marriages, being unfaithful within a marriage, demanding a divorce (even in abusive relationships), and acting in ways deemed morally unacceptable.

Patriarchal control, rigid gender roles, the importance placed on family honor, societal expectations, and cultural norms significantly influence honor killings. People or families might go to great lengths to protect their supposed honor, fearing criticism, ostracism, or loss of social standing.

However, it’s crucial to understand that these reasons do not excuse honor killings. It’s imperative to transform these societal conditions by promoting gender equality, spreading awareness, and advancing education.

Several misconceptions about honor killings persist, such as:

The false belief that it’s acceptable or religiously sanctioned, when in reality, it’s a cultural practice not endorsed by any orthodox religious doctrine. These are criminal acts devoid of religious basis.

While women are often the primary targets, men can also be victims of honor killings. This issue affects everyone, and we must acknowledge that.

Honor killings are often considered private matters, despite being human rights violations. Instead of brushing them off as family affairs, they should be treated as crimes.

By dispelling these myths, we can challenge the cultural norms that perpetuate honor killings and strive for a more inclusive and equitable society.

Addressing honor killings requires collective efforts. Strategies to combat this issue encompass:

Raising awareness about human rights, gender equality, and individual autonomy through education, which can challenge deeply ingrained cultural norms supporting honor killings.

Implementing and enforcing stricter laws as a deterrent and means of delivering justice to victims. This involves safeguarding potential targets and holding perpetrators accountable.

Offering support services, shelter, and counseling to victims of honor-based violence, enabling them to escape dangerous situations and start anew.

Mobilizing communities, religious leaders, and influential figures to denounce harmful practices and champion human rights, fostering a culture of change.

Empowering individuals to question and reject these traditions, fostering an all-embracing and just society.

Through the combination of these initiatives, we can strive to eliminate honor killings and cultivate a society where everyone is valued and respected, irrespective of their choices and actions.

In conclusion, the term “honor killing” has been wrongly associated with a form of murder. There’s no honor in taking someone’s life. It arises from patriarchal dominance and is a disgraceful act, far removed from honor. This practice has been erroneously justified in the name of religion.

I would advise against taking the law or justice into your own hands. It’s the responsibility of the establishment or government to administer punishment for actions. No justification exists for this abhorrent act. “A hint is enough for the wise.”

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Namia Khan August 21, 2023 - 2:30 pm

Loved each and every word of it.The facts made it more interesting to read!

anonymous August 21, 2023 - 3:39 pm

hello api mai apko bht pasnd krta hun


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