A twenty-two-year old man has been arrested in the death of a two year old girl in Oklahoma City. The child was taken to hospital after she was found not breathing. Examinations revealed that she had been sexually assaulted. The child suffered injuries to a number of internal organs and lost a lot of blood. The man is held without bail on charges of rape and murder. Reads like a horror story doesn’t it, but what I find even more disturbing is that according to the police the mother of the child refused to give them a description of the man who happens to be her boyfriend. The report also stated that the sheets were stripped off the child’s bed; the room vacuumed and wet laundry found in the washer. Was this an attempt of a cover up? How horrible for a toddler to have to die this way. Why is there so much evil in the world?
When people migrate they leave their countries behind but often times they take their culture and traditions with them. They aggressively try to enforce their beliefs and continue to live by the traditions that they are accustomed to even it is not in keeping with what others would consider to be normal behavior.
The idea of Honor Killing is deeply embedded in certain societies and family honor is more important than life itself. In most instances there is a gross misrepresentation of the word ‘Honor’. Usually it is the woman in the family who has to sacrifice her happiness to uphold the family honor.
Let us look at the following scenario: A girl is forced to marry a man almost twice her age. He beats her, sexually abuse and tortures her. Yet if she leaves her abusive husband it will be looked upon as bringing disgrace on the family by people who are obsessed with maintaining family honor. She is therefore expected to live a life of misery and suffer silently because her family believes this is the honorable thing to do.
Families will go to the extreme to maintain their family honor. It is therefore not surprising that on October 20, 2009 Faleh Hassan Almaleki a native of Iraq living in Glendale Arizona mowed down his twenty year-old daughter Noor Almaleki in what was considered a honor attack. Noor died as a result of the injuries she sustained.
Her crime? Her father felt she had become “too westernized”; he was also angry that she had left the man she married in Iraq and returned to Arizona to live with her boyfriend and his mother. Faleh felt his daughter had brought disgrace on the family and took matters in his own hands. He became judge, jury and executioner. The punishment for her transgressions was death and he executed her punishment by running her over in his Jeep Cherokee. Her boyfriend’s mother also suffered injuries in the attack.
After the attack he fled the country, driving to Mexico and taking a plane to London. He was detained by British Police and extradited back to the US. In February 2011 a Phoenix jury found him guilty of second degree murder in the death of his daughter. He was also convicted of aggravated assault for injuries suffered by the mother of his daughter’s boyfriend in the 2009 attack.
For those who continue to practice this monstrous act I hope the day will come when they will realize that they are the one bringing disgrace on the family. In a normal society family member don’t go around killing each other. Even animals form packs to defend and protect their kind. There is nothing honorable about being a murderer! There is nothing honorable about taking the life of someone especially the people around you whom you should love and protect. It is the murderer in the family who should be seen as bringing disgrace on the family.
Violence against women takes various forms, from Acid Throwing, Female Genital Mutilation, to Torture and Murder. One of the most heinous of these crimes is Bride Burning. It is practiced in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The crime is often staged to appear as an accident or suicide. The victims are usually newly married women whose parents do not have the money to pay off the husband‘s dowry requirements. The perpetrators are usually the husband’s family or the husband himself.
Women in these countries do not get much support from their male counterpart. The husband’s family will harass, threaten and sometimes kill the bride if her family cannot come up with the money or gifts . With the new wife out-of-the-way , the husband is free to remarry and get a new dowry from his new bride. In 2010 there were 8391 reported cases of dowry deaths in India alone.
In Pakistan although divorce is possible, it is claimed that some families decide instead to murder unwanted wives. In most cases of bride burning the woman is doused with kerosene, the helpless defenseless woman is then set on fire and is burned alive. The deaths are often reported as accidents. In many cases the police are told the victim was killed by an exploding stove and there is no prosecution. They opt for burning because the chances of prosecution is less.
Bride burning is a wicked, barbaric act. It is one of the most gruesome forms of human rights violation.
Dowry is a payment of cash or gift from the family of the bride to the bridegroom’s family upon marriage. The 1961 Dowry Prohibition Act, makes the payment of dowry illegal in India, but the practice continues, putting great financial strain on the bride’s family. The size of the dowry is usually seen as a reflection of wealth. Because of the dowry system the birth of a girl is considered a curse and girls are considered as burdens. This has given rise to growing cases of female foeticide. Thousands of girls are killed never getting the chance to make it from their mother’s womb alive.
In 2010 there were 8391 reported cases of dowry deaths in India. Women’s right groups estimate the annual dowry killing to be around 900 in Delhi alone. A dowry killing occurs when a new bride is murdered by her husband or in-laws. When the dowry is not considered sufficient the bride is often abused, harassed and made miserable. This can get to the point where the husband or his family burn the bride alive. They often do this by pouring kerosene on her and lighting it. These killings are often reported as accidents or suicide. Driven by greed the choice to kill the bride rather than return her to her parents ensures that the in-laws will not have to return the dowry. The very sad part in all of the is that the bride is dead while the groom is free to take himself another bride.
- The agony of India’s daughters (telegraph.co.uk)
- Another #Dowry Torture Case in #Canada (genderbytes.wordpress.com)
- Study seeks end to dowry custom (thehimalayantimes.com)
- Rise in Wealth Brings Rise in Dowry Murders to Assam (genderbytes.wordpress.com)
George Zimmerman has finally been charged with the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. The incident took place more than a month ago. Zimmerman will face charges of second degree murder. One can only hope now for a fair trial and that justice will prevail. Sadly enough at the end of the day their will be no winners, for a life that is lost can never be replaced, all one can hope for is closure.