So it could be understandable that girls in cultures which value honor highly are expected to maintain standards of chastity. Many Christian and other religious groups prize premarital chastity in both women and men. Not dating or speaking to boys is an extension of that policy, safeguarding against potential misbehavior.
None of this justifies the death penalty for infractions against honor based social codes. It simply aids in understanding.
A brutal honor killing in Germany throws that narrative completely out of the window.
A 20 year old girl was stabbed to death, seemingly by her father and brothers. She had been gang raped by three men in her native Syria. Ever since then her family had regarded her as ‘unclean.’
It comes down to a concept of women as merely bodies, without agency, merely as extensions of the family. Since they are simply property, they can be damaged. Sexual contact with a man, consensual or not, damages the woman under this harsh worldview. Her choices are irrelevant in this, because her choices were always irrelevant.
Honor in these circumstances is not about regulating female behavior it is about safeguarding male property.
If that can be done through behavioral regulation, so be it. But if the ‘property’ is damaged in some other way, then she is tainted and must be killed.
In Dubai a woman was allowed to drown by her father, who fought off lifeguards rather than allow an unrelated male to touch his daughter. In India a man killed his four year old daughter, bashing her repeatedly on the ground, because her hijab had slipped off and she did not notice.
These horrific events are only comprehendible once we understand that the womans actions are not the motivating factor. It is simply a question of property and pride.
The International Day of the Girl Child is on October 11th. This year we have to challenge the toxic notion that women are property.
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