Source: Hayv Kahraman
Human Rights Watch defines "honor killings" as follows:
Honor killings are acts of vengeance, usually death, committed by male family members against female family members, who are held to have brought dishonor upon the family. A woman can be targeted by (individuals within) her family for a variety of reasons, including: refusing to enter into an arranged marriage, being the victim of a sexual assault, seeking a divorce—even from an abusive husband—or (allegedly) committing adultery. The mere perception that a woman has behaved in a way that "dishonors" her family is sufficient to trigger an attack on her life.
When male family members believe that the females in their family seem to have brought dishonor on the family names they will seek to remove the dishonor, most often by killing the female. In some instances honor killings may involve torture and/or physical abuse. Some women may even seek out to suicide under the pressure of her family and to avoid the torture that would occur at the hands of their families. Women who are sexually abused or raped are often seen as honor killing victims.
Honor murders have their root in a vulgar and ancient Arabic expression, "A man's honor lies between the legs of a woman." Muslim courts are especially lenient concerning honor murders. Some countries such as Jordan has even codified honor murders. Until quite recently repealed, Article 340 of the Jordanian Penal Code was clear on the matter. Quote: "He who discovers his wife or one of his female relatives committing adultery and kills, wounds or injures one or both of them, is exempt from any penalty." But still on the books are other articles that insure that a Jordanian man will be exempt from prosecution or at least be treated with leniency if conducting an honor murder. This generally would consist of a few months in prison.
In Pakistan the practice of Honor Killings goes by the name of Karo-Kari. Karo-Kari is a compound word literally meaning "black male" (Karo) and "black female (Kari). Originally, Karo and Kari were metaphoric terms for adulterer and adulteress, but it has come to be used with regards to multiple forms of perceived immoral behavior. Official data published by the Pakistani Senate show that more than 4,000 people died from 1998- to 2004 as result of Karo-Kari. Of the victims almost 2,800 were women and just over 1,300 were men. Thus twice as many women as men lose their lives to this most barbaric social custom. Frequently fathers bring charges of zina (unlawful sexual relations) against daughters who have married men of their choice, alleging that they are not validly married. But even when such complaints are before the courts, some men resort to private justice. Learn more about the practice of honor killings in this 1999 report by Amnesty International and Amnesty International's latest fact sheet.
Source: Incognito by Lata Gwalani
The health of women and children is greatly at risk if the man of the household suspects them of doing a dishonor. Throwing acid on the body is a common way of torture which alters the way the skin looks on the body, but being abused, or even worse, the act of killing are also common. In the country of Pakistan four provinces are mainly associated are: Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab, and Khyber Pakhtunkwa. (see location of provinces on map on home page)
Different Aspects of Honor Killings
Why Honor Killings? The women certainly are not getting any honor out of it. Honor Killings have been happening for centuries and even before Prophet Muhammad. This “practice” happens all over the four provinces of Pakistan. Sadly out of these four provinces such cases are not reported. Honor killings happen when, in a man’s eyes, the woman has done some actual or perceived immoral behavior. If proved so, she will be murdered, tortured, or even manipulated. Because of the protection of Islam and Islamic religion, one would think that this action should be forbidden and reported. So who decides what really should be done to these women for punishment? Jirga (is a decision making tribal gathering) decisions are made by the tribal leaders called ‘Sardars’. The Sardars come together and set up an agreement between the victim of the family dishonored and the culprit. When the decision is made, both parties usually accept what has been finalized. In 2006 Jirga banned to register the honor killings at the local police stations and Jirga had clearly stated that whoever reported cases to the police station would be killed. An economical part of these honor killings is that it is like a business. There are two ways in which the crime would be punished: Say if a husband kills his wife for assumed sexual misbehavior and the possible 'lover' gets away, the possible lover has to pay the husband compensation for the wife that was lost and for his own life, which was spared. The second way of punishment would be if the dead woman's possible ‘lover' hands over a sister to the husband, in addition, for a larger amount of money.
Around the World
Honor killings can happen anywhere, anytime around the world. They are not just limited to the Middle East. Honor killings are happening right here in the United States. In October 2009 a girl by the name of Noor Almaleki was killed by her father. Her dad ran her over with her car because he felt that his daughter had became too westernized and denied an arranged marriage in her native country of Iraq.