Front-line crisis worker's view on 'honour killings'
Tuesday, August 4, 2009 Citizen Bytes
Submitted by Fazeela Jiwa
About/Bio: I am a rape crisis line and transition house worker at Vancouver Rape Relief and Women's Shelter.
My take: Honour Killings? Domestic Violence? Let's call it what it really is: violence against women.
The debate rages: how do we classify the alleged murders of four female family members by Mohammad Shafia, his wife Tooba Mohammad Yahya, and their son Hamed? Is this crime a tragic case of domestic violence, or can we attribute it to a cultural practice of honour killing? I contend it is neither.
"Domestic violence" should not be used as a euphemism for a phenomenon of violence which is mostly perpetrated by men against women. Undeniably, it is women who fill transition houses and keep rape crisis lines busy across the province. I do not want to be misinterpreted - I am fully aware that men are attacked; they are deserving of help like any victim of violence. As a feminist, I find it highly offensive that when I speak out about violence against women, some people dare to insinuate that I love to hate men. What informs my theory that violence against women is a worldwide phenomenon, not a series of individual acts, are the 120 battered women that we have housed every year since 1973.
There is no need for anyone to racialize these murders by calling them honour killings. Honour killings are simply another manifestation of worldwide oppression of women through violence. Women from a myriad of backgrounds are murdered for a myriad of reasons every day. In Canada, approximately one woman a week is murdered by her male partner - many of these murders also include their children. (...)