Bri­tain holds memo­rial day for vic­tims of ‘hon­our killings’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - WORLD -

BRI­TAIN will hold a memo­rial day to­day to re­mem­ber the vic­tims of so-called hon­our killings.

Hon­our-based vi­o­lence is done to pun­ish those – usu­ally girls and women – deemed to have brought shame on their fam­ily or com­mu­nity by not con­form­ing to tra­di­tional ex­pec­ta­tions.

In­fringe­ments may in­clude hav­ing a boyfriend, re­ject­ing a forced mar­riage, in­ter­faith re­la­tion­ships, seek­ing a di­vorce and be­hav­ing or dress- ing in a way that is con­sid­ered in­ap­pro­pri­ate.

Here are some facts on hon­our killings and hon­our-based vi­o­lence (HBV).

The Day of Mem­ory is held on the birthday of Shafilea Ahmed who was mur­dered by her par­ents in 2003 when she was 17 af­ter suf­fer­ing years of abuse for be­com­ing “too Western­ised”.

There are about 5 000 hon­our killings world­wide every year, ac­cord­ing to the United Na­tions.

It has been es­ti­mated that there are 12 hon­our killings a year in Bri­tain, but cam­paign­ers be­lieve the num­ber is higher.

Hon­our killings also take place over­seas af­ter vic­tims are told they are go­ing on a fam­ily hol­i­day.

Con­tract killers are some­times used.

Other forms of HBV in­clude emo­tional abuse, beat­ings, threats of vi­o­lence, be­ing held against your will and forced mar­riage.

Girls ad­vised to

off de­tec­tors

The num­ber of cases of HBV recorded by po­lice in Bri­tain in­creased from 3 335 in 2014 to 5 105 in 2016.

Po­lice re­ferred 200 HBVre­lated cases (ex­clud­ing forced mar­riage cases) to pros­e­cu­tors in 2016-2017, down from 216 the pre­vi­ous year.

There were around 90 con­vic­tions in both years.

In Bri­tain, HBV is pre­dom­i­nantly as­so­ci­ated with com­mu­ni­ties orig­i­nat­ing from the Mid­dle East and South Asia.

Or­gan­i­sa­tions cam­paign­ing on hon­our vi­o­lence also say abuse by fam­i­lies may push girls and women to sui­cide.

South Asian women in Bri­tain are up to three times more likely to com­mit sui­cide than their Cau­casian coun­ter­parts.

A helpline run by Karma Nir­vana, a char­ity tackling HBV and forced mar­riage, re­ceived 12 935 con­tacts last year.

Around 70% iden­ti­fied their im­me­di­ate fam­ily as the per­pe­tra­tor and half iden­ti­fied their mother.

Men can also be vic­tims of HBV if they are thought to have “dis­hon­oured” a woman or are be­lieved to be ho­mo­sex­ual.

Ahead of the mid-year school break, cam­paign­ers have been ad­vis­ing any girl who fears she is be­ing taken abroad for mar­riage or other rea­sons against her in­ter­ests, to hide a tea­spoon in her un­der­wear.

This is so that it sets off air­port metal de­tec­tors, al­low­ing her to in­form of­fi­cials away from her fam­ily. – Reuters/ African news Agency (ANA)

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