Blood Cleans Honor, Or So We Are Told

1661 words - 7 pages

The number of honor killings each year is unknown. Figures are only estimates at the very best. The Iraq government dismisses the numbers that are published and those outside the country have no way to identify how many honor killings take place, if they are even recorded somewhere. According the Human Rights Watch, honor crimes are “acts of violence, usually murder, committed by male family members against female family members who are perceived to have brought dishonor upon the family” (Stop Violence Against Women). Just sheer suspicion can be seen as a reason to commit an honor killing. This is because honor is a huge aspect of the culture in Iraq. Without it a family has little left. So if honor is needed to be restored then it must be done. Honor killings, done because a female in the family is not virgin, are seen as a socially accepted way to restore honor to the family in Iraq. The law used for the sentencing of those who commit honor killings in Iraq, families and communities who have participated in honor killings, and the females victims of honor killings all have different viewpoints. However, the truth is honor killings are historically viewed as a way to restore honor and because of that, most in Iraq look upon honor killings as constructive way to restore honor.
Honor killings have an extensive past in Iraq, after being integrated into the culture, honor killings are viewed as an acceptable norm of the culture. Under Taliban groups, a honor killing is seen as the only way to restore honor to a family name after women, who are the property of the men in the family, engage in pre-marital sex or infidelity. This idea comes from the cultural belief that “blood cleanses honor” (Husseini). Rape is also considered to fall into pre-marital sex or infidelity; this means that the woman is to blame for the rape. In the process of a honor killing the female who is going to be killed is either; stoned, strangled, shot, or even set on fire, for the dishonor that she brought about the family. Countries, who view this as murder, think that the punishment should be harsh enough to stop honor killings however the punishment is very lenient. According to Article 409 of the Iraq Penal Code; men, specifically only men, have the right to kill if “he [finds] his wife or one of his female dependents in a state of adultery.” This is the exact law that is used in cases of the honor killings. The men who committed the crime will then receive a maximum of three years in jail, if they are caught, for the honor killing (Bayoumy). Honor killings are not just socially accepted they are also ignored, as though they are not occurring, by the law. In the case of Du’a Khalil Aswad whose death, which was recorded on a cell phone camera, was posted on the media, in the video it can be seen that the police are just watching instead of helping (Four Years On). The police are citizens of Iraq and therefore they are taught the same values of the culture that people who...

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