No ‘honour’ in killing

Aug 21, 2017
24-year-old Sughran Bibi of Bahawalpur is yet another victim of ‘honour’-based violence. She was allegedly axed to death by her family members for marrying the man of her choice.
Once again, the male ‘honour’ was threatened by a woman’s decision to follow her heart. What is it about a woman’s choice that threatens male authority so much? Is it the internalised misogyny that echoes in their ear, reminding them to take control? Or is it that our society will never let a woman possess the ability to make her own choices?
Incidents of murder in the name of ‘honour’ have become routine in Pakistan. We see outrage for a few days after an incident and rights activists demand tougher punishments for the perpetrators, but soon it is business as usual. This indicates the society has grown immune to the idea of ‘honour’-based killings.
It is important to implement and improve the existing laws to improve the conviction rate in cases of ‘honour’ killings. The legal provisions that have made it convenient for the perpetrators to get away with the crime need to be revisited and reformed on an urgent basis. However, legislation alone cannot guarantee an end to ‘honour’ crimes. Such acts of violence will continue until the society sticks to this misplaced notion of honour. Men need to be educated that their ‘honour’ is not attached to a woman’s body, nor are they commodities that need to be controlled. We need to at least start a debate on the demons of misogyny and patriarchy to get rid of the flawed concept of honour that exists in the country.
It is time for religious clerics to step forward and clearly condemn such incidents of violence against women, which the criminals have been justifying in the name of religion.
Daily Times, August 21, 2017

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