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Tag Archive for HBV
Back in 2007, the mother-in-law and husband of Surjeet Athwal were sentenced to life for arranging for her murder in Punjab. The Surjeet case was widely described as an ‘honour’ killing in the press, on the basis that Surjeet was engaged in an affair and sought to leave her husband. One right-wing blog displayed a picture of Bachan Athwal, the mother-in-law, in traditional Sikh dress, entitled ‘Muslim Granny Kills Daugther-in-law for Honour’ above an anti-Muslim diatribe. When I attempted to correct the blogger, he informed me that Sikhism was a branch of Islam – at which point I decided he didn’t deserve the compliment of rational opposition. Such a co-option of ‘honour’ to an anti-Muslim agenda is widespread. I will not link to Pamela Gellar but you are welcome to google her. Read more
Yesterday, Iftikhar and Farzana Ahmed were sentenced to life for the murder of their daughter Shafilea after a trial lasting four months. They considered Shafilea too ‘westernised’, particularly when she refused to marry a husband of their choosing. Shafilea was murdered in September 2003, meaning that it has taken almost nine years to achieve justice in this case. Cheshire police are certainly to be commended for their long-term commitment to the investigation particularly given the complexities of investigating HBV, although it remains concerning that Shafilea exhibited several warning signs indicating her risk, none of which were identified at the time. There are lessons here to be learned, as Sara Khan argues in the Guardian, about the continued lack of awareness of the risks of family violence against young people, and young women in particular, at the hands of their parents and other relatives. Read more
As a crime where the majority of victims are women, there is an obvious gender basis to HBV. But we need to be careful about oversimplifying HBV as if all victims were female and all perpetrators were male.
While it’s often the case that violence is committed by a male relative of the victim, they may be actively or tacitly supported by her mother, sisters and aunts and other female relatives; and it not unknown for women themselves to be the perpetrators of HBV. Mothers have been implicated in several ‘honour’ killings, such as the first known ‘honour’ killing in the UK, the murder of Rukshana Naz – amongst many, many others.
In other cases, mothers may not be directly involved but still provide indirect support to their husband and male relatives and shield them from the criminal justice system, or may simply turn a blind eye to violence within the family. Read more