Honor killings an important point of attention
What is honor killings?Honor vengeance is an act often accompanied by physical violence against women, but it can also be the other way around. It is taking revenge after violation of moral and sexual codes within a community. Honor vengeance is not the same as blood vengeance. The difference lies in the cause and the way it is done. Acts of revenge actually date back to the Middle Ages, but in some countries it remains an important issue. Also in
Honor crimes are more common in countries where "shame culture" prevails, in which having an honor is a condition for being able to function in society. It is often about the moral honor.
What is moral honor?In countries where honor killings are applied, honor is very important.
The honor can be divided into:
- Personal honor: different for each person. Every person has their own reasons and evaluation of what is right and true and will therefore express their honor in their own way.
- Social honor: To be able to function socially in society, someone must be socially full, so have a social honor.
Moral honor is part of social honor. In the Turkish world this is called "namus" and in Arab countries "ird" or "ard". For women, this honor means that they are chaste (virgin) before they enter into marriage. For men it means that they marry "chaste" women.
A woman can lose her social honor by voluntarily having sex before marriage or when they are already married. Losing this moral honor means that the woman is stained. It is seen as a shame. It may also be that the woman is forced into sex or raped. The moral honor is then compromised, but the woman is not guilty of this. In the community where moral honor is important, there is often gossip because of the shame. But gossip should in principle not be a reason for honor killings. First, the family does an investigation into the truth. If the gossip is false, then the perpetrator of the gossip is tackled. If it turns out that the woman has voluntarily committed shame, the woman will be dealt with hard. And if the woman is raped or assaulted, the perpetrator can be dealt with harshly. The "hard approach" unfortunately happens often with physical violence, often with attempted homicide or murder.
Some misunderstandings about honor killings:
- Honor crimes do not only occur in Islamic countries, such as Turkey or the Middle East. It is also common in the Mediterranean area and in South America.
(Amnesty International and Human Right Watch regularly report cases in Morocco, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, but also in Haiti, Brazil and Colombia)
- Honor vengeance is not something that has developed for several years. Even in the Middle Ages it was a habit right.
- Honor killing has nothing to do with faith. Not with Islam, Judaism or Christianity.
- Honor vengeance is also not typically Turkish, as many people think. It also occurs in other cultures and traditions.
- Honor killing is actually not from a culture either. If you think logically, a culture is something that a country is known for. Being familiar with "honor killings" doesn't seem like a good expression of a country.
Honor crimes: when and when not?In families where honor killing is normal, you often see that the man is the boss. The man often exerts great pressure on his family and is strict to protect the honor of his family and family. For the women and girls who are suppressed under these strict rules, often find a way out. Mothers sit with their children at family or in women's shelters. Girls who grew up here in the Netherlands walk away from home. Once the honor has been violated and the wife or daughter has left the house, father (often together with his sons or other male relatives) goes in search. He must find them! After all, his surroundings would judge the damage to moral honor as a disgrace, and the man just shouldn't have that. If the woman or the girl is caught anyway, very horrible circumstances often follow.
The girls who live in the Netherlands want to adapt to Dutch culture and often also want a boyfriend before marriage. If it is that the girl has secretly had sex with her boyfriend, it is first determined whether the girl has chosen this herself or whether she is forced. If the girl is not forced, then a fierce discussion often follows and the boy's family is spoken to. The boy's background becomes obsolete. Often, if the boy is not married either, it is decided to marry the girl to this boy, who has violated the honor. When the marriage is accepted, there is nothing wrong and the girl's father tries to keep this "mandatory" marriage as secret as possible to his environment. If the marriage does not take place, eg the family does not accept the girl, or if the boy appears to be already married or engaged, the father of the girl feels obliged to return this to the perpetrator. Namely his daughter is no longer chaste and will therefore be difficult to accept when she wants to marry someone else.
The aforementioned concerns mainly Turkish and Moroccan communities. Of course there are families within this circle who think "more modern" and no longer take honor killings so seriously. But it still occurs !! We see that on TV, in the newspapers or we hear it in the neighborhood. Honor killings are tackled differently in every culture. The one with violence, the other obliges the victim to marry the perpetrator and still others can finish talking.
Often the perpetrators are under 40 years old. The older generation of men are usually a bit softer in character. They often try to prevent "murder" or "violence". That does not mean that this older generation is against honor killings. They often think of the consequences for the perpetrator rather than the woman. In most cases, the younger generation also listens because of respect towards the elderly.
Can we prevent honor killings in the Netherlands?Honor killings have been in the spotlight in the media in recent years. In 2005, 15 honor killings took place in the Netherlands. As a result, a project was started in South Holland, financed by the government.
The Reception Federation has sent a letter of fire to Minister Verdonk for Integration asking that the approach to honor killings be given top priority
The GGD-Rotterdam devised the project and looks like this;
- Receive signals of violence related to honor killings as early as possible and see escalation occur.
- Active involvement of the immigrant community (They must cooperate with the police and other social workers)
- Aid and care providers, such as general practitioners and teachers, must recognize an impending violence
- The central reporting point is ASHG: Advice and Support Center for Domestic Violence.
- The core team: Honor-related Violence must take care of the action following reports to ASHG.
- After a report, protection of victims and prosecution of perpetrators follows.
The Rotterdam police are cooperating with the Haaglanden police. This corps has a specialized unit for multi-ethnic police work (MEP).
In the past year, the Hague police selected 415 crimes, with the element "honor" playing a role. This involved, among other things, assault, threat and rape. Early action by the police prevented the escalation of violence in all these cases. Thanks to this project, honor crimes fell to zero in 2006, which means that it is a good approach. Amsterdam and other major cities are now more alert to honor killings and are cooperating.