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Shubhi Tandon – WNN Features
According to the United Nations and The International Campaign Against Honor Killing at least five thousand women and girls worldwide are murdered each year to preserve ‘family honour’. Many of these women are killed for making personal choices that don’t match the limits placed on them by their families and local society.
These killings occur in societies where the control of women’s behaviour is the factor at the forefront of defining the standing of men among their peers.
Personal choices come in conflict with a family’s ‘honour’ when a young woman begins to ask – Who do I want to be my life-partner?; What if I don’t want an arranged marriage?; How do I want to dress in public?; What music do I want listen to?; How can I own my own business?; Can I attend a university of my choice?; When will I be able to sing in public, or go dancing?; Can I ask for a divorce if my husband beats me?; Can I attend school?
These questions can bring danger in a society where women and girls are expected to follow strict guidelines.
Judged heavily for such basic freedoms as personal career choices, education, styles of dress, choice of friends and even the number of children they wish to have, women who have become victims of honor violence are trapped in a never-ending cycle of self-denial.
Launched in April 2011 to give a digital memorial to the victims of honor crimes worldwide, a new website called Memini, which means ‘remembrance’ in Latin, outlines the lives of twenty-five women who have been murdered through honour violence.
Created by award-winning Norwegian filmmaker, composer and celebrity pop singer Deepika Thathaal known as Deeyah by her fans, the Memini site brings an unforgettable look at the haunting faces of honor violence.
Each face on Memini shows a haunting desire to live.
Honour Killings are collective and premeditated murders intended to restore the social position and family honour.
Born in Norway from immigrant parents of Pashtun and Punjabi descent, Deeyah knows well that dangers do exist for women who step outside their society’s ‘cultural norm’.
“Honour Killings represent the ultimate in control and oppression of women”, says Deeyah.
Family members (or friends of the family) are often the ones who carry out the killing in these murders. The violence in honor crimes can be found worldwide.
This severe form of violence against women expressed as honour violence exists today on all continents. Specifically, it can be found within Syria, Egypt, Morocco, India, Turkey, Bangladesh, Jordan, Iraqi Kurdistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon, Israel and Palestine, as well as inside immigrant communities in United States, Canada, Spain, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Norway and the UK.
“The perpetrators of these honour motivated crimes want all signs of the lives of these young women to be completely wiped out – almost as if these young women never existed in the first place,” explains Deeyah.
Today honour killings are seen across religious communities and are not limited to one group only.
“I reported the incident to the police, but they didn’t take me seriously,” said Turkish born Kurdish immigrant to Sweden, Fadime Sahindal, as she shared to police her first experience reporting personal threats by family members in a formal meeting of the Sweden’s parliament, November 21, 2001.