Voice for the Voiceless: Honor Killings

20 May

An honor killing is the murder of a family member by one or more fellow family members, where the murderers (and potentially the wider community) believe the victim to have brought dishonor upon the family or community.

Typically honor killings are carried out by male family members against women. Offenses deemed worthy of death include: violating the very strict dress codes of the community, looking at a man in a way that displeases him, wanting out of an arranged marriage, committing adultery, being abandoned by your husband, and being raped.

This regime of honor is unforgiving. Women on whom suspicion has fallen are not given an opportunity to defend themselves, and family members have no socially acceptable alternative but to remove the stain on their honor by attacking the woman.

Honor killings are virtually ignored by community members, and in many cases, the women are buried in unmarked graves and all records of their existence are wiped out. Often times, these women are never spoken of again.

Facts about honor killings:

-There are around 5,000 honor killings per year.

-In Turkey, a young woman’s throat was slit in the town square because a love ballad had been dedicated to her over the radio.

-Every day in Pakistan at least three women are victims of honor killings. In 2004 this accumulated to 1,349 women.

-According to the United Nations in 2002, honor killings have been reported in:  “Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, the Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, Yemen, and other Mediterranean and Persian Gulf countries, and that they had also taken place in western countries such as France, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom, within migrant communities.”

-In Jordan part of article 340 of the Penal Code states that “he who discovers his wife or one of his female relatives committing adultery and kills, wounds, or injures one of them, is exempted from any penalty.”

-In a study of female murders in Alexandria, Egypt, 47% of the women were killed after the woman had been raped.

In addition to the 5,000 women per year that actually die from these violent attacks, thousands more survive the brutality. Common methods of violence against women include: acid attacks, burnings, stabbings, and attempted slitting of their throats.

To the right is Saira Liaqat, 26, an acid burn victim from Pakistan. Her husband attempted to murder her because he wanted to marry another woman. The pain and rejection in this woman’s heart must be so great, not to mention the physical suffering she had to endure. Saira has undergone six plastic surgery procedures in an attempt to reconstruct her face.

Saira is a beloved daughter of God.

Please join me in praying for these women, these daughters of the Most High God.

Pray against humanity’s prideful desperation for honor. Honor belongs only to God. Pray that God would reveal His glory to these men that they might fear Him and value their wives and daughters and sisters as much as they do themselves.

Pray that women would be granted the opportunity to obtain government-issued identification cards and that their existence would be documented. Only 2% of women in Pakistan have identification cards, making prosecution against their murderers impossible since their is no documentation that they ever lived. Pray that God would put compassionate, justice-minded people in authority to help these voiceless women in their fight for their basic human rights.

Pray that rape victims would receive compassion, love, and help – not death. Pray that people would see these women as victims and not blame them for “seducing” their perpetrators.

Pray that God would raise up people to start refuge houses in these countries where the women can run to when they are in danger. Pray for an outpouring of financial blessing on the few houses already in existence.

Pray for a searching in the hearts of the people of these countries that they would seek truth, love, forgiveness, and compassion – and that they would find it in Jesus Christ alone.

Count your many blessings! We are so blessed to be born in a country where we have freedom, where women have a voice. With this freedom, however, comes great responsibility. We must use our freedom to protect the freedom of others. We must take a stance against injustice, that one day our children would see these issues as a healed scar in the history of our world, not as a terrifying part of its future.

“God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them.” Hebrews 6:10

To find out more about honor attacks, check out the links below:

Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan

Amnesty International

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2 Responses to “Voice for the Voiceless: Honor Killings”

  1. La Vonne Earl May 31, 2010 at 5:58 pm #

    Thank you for bringing a voice to the voiceless. My heart goes out to these women.
    http://equalitynow.org/english/index.html

    • erikaearl May 31, 2010 at 10:48 pm #

      Great link! Equality Now is a wonderful organization. Love you Mom!

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