Femicides or Honour Killings???

The Shafia Trial

           I was surfing the internet when I came across an artical verifying the verdict of a family who was responsible for killing their children and calling it a honor killing. The Shafia family was found guilty in Canada for ‘honor killings’. Mohammad Shafia along with his wife and son, were all found guilty for the brutal murders of their three children and mohammads’ second wife. They were allegedly killed because they dishonored the family by defying its desciplinary rules on dress, dating, socialing, and using the internet. This Afghan fmaily along, with many others, abide by strict islamic beliefs and the punishment for disobeying can ultimately be death. Before proceeding I would like to define the term ‘honour killing’ which author YASMIN JIWANI and HOMA HOODFAR defines as, “Typically the victims are women and pegged to have deviated from the moral code and thus determined the family’s honor; by killing them, family reputation and honor may be restored.” 
        I am having trouble separating the difference between these honor killings and other deadly crimes such as crimes of passion and crimes of convience and appearantly the factor that differentiates these murders are premeditation; but even that can be found in honor killling cases. Ultimately, if a women was to go and make the acquaintance of another man and her husband didn’t like it, he could murder her children leaving her to suffer and justify that as an honor killing. The fact that most these victims are women illustrates islamic’s dedication to a patriarchal system and what they would do to keep it. It shows they don’t see women as companians but instead property in which they own and can do with as they please. The question the arises, if these so called ‘honor kilings’ are nothing more than femicides then why not acknowledge what they are instead of sugar coating them, which is what the Canadian Media seem to be doing. Femicides are the murder of girls or women simply based on their gender. Hoodfar explains that the reason the term ‘honor killing’ seem to be more popular is because it makes it seem like femicides are an unusual occurance, and also because it would make it seem as though femicides are only found in those particular regions like Canada and other specific cultures or religions around the world.
        Unfortunately femicides happen all around the world. The reasoning being based on their gender. Women and girls are being killed because they have no rights and even no value in some societies and it’s being rationalized, which makes it even worse.

About dt3d

Darrisaw's professional experience includes Summer Internships and Upper level education. She is Hard working, determined, can multi-task, and simply love staying busy. She is extremely reliable and confident in her fields of study. Her writing skills are excellent; futhermore, she has won numerous awards as a result of writing and have also received the Northern Virginia Scholastic Acheivement Award for her academic studies. Her Goals are to excel in any field she is in, considering she is double majoring in two broad subjects, which are Criminal Justice/ Communications. Although she is also majoring in Criminal Justice, her primary focus is advancing in the field of Communications, to further her career in the Mass Communications field, whether being print, television, film, etc.
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One Response to Femicides or Honour Killings???

  1. Aside from being a tragedy, this is a really interesting piece on cultural conflict and it hinges on the ideas on honor and shame, which are used in a specialized sense in anthropology. So not trying to be funny or anything, but we Americans are a people with no shame (in this sense). Its just not a central part of our culture. When I get home I’ll look up the definition in the ol’ Encyclopedia of Anthropology.

    So I’m going to have to disagree with you that calling them honor killings “sugar coats” them. Rather, I would maintain that keeping this label is important because it highlights the meta-conflict of immigrants against the state. You seem to be looking at this at a more local, household level of father against his children.

    The great sociologist Max Weber defined the state as an institution which holds a monopoly on the legitimate use of force. This is why vigilante justice is unacceptable. If a criminal kills my parents I cannot, ala Batman, hunt them down and kill them myself. The state, acting through its agents the police, may apprehend the criminals who in end may forfeit their lives. Either way the same outcome is achieved. But why is one illegitimate and the other legitimate? Weber says this is part of what a state-level government is. By definition it takes away our ability to coerce others with force.

    The application of violent force in the face of the state’s monopoly on the same is exactly what this Afghan father has done. So he is, in fact doubly guilty. This is not really a crime of passion, but a political protest (albeit one you might not be sympathetic with) because what he is really rejecting is any acknowledgement that the state of Canada has sway over how his culture defines justice.

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