• What are they?
o An honour killing is the homicide of a member of a family or social group by other members, due to the belief of the perpetrators that the victim has brought dishonour upon the family or community. Honour killings are directed mostly against women and girls, but have been extended to men.
o The perceived dishonour is normally the result of one of the following behaviours, or the suspicion of such behaviours:
Dressing in a manner unacceptable to the family or community,
Wanting to terminate or prevent an arranged marriage or desiring to marry by own choice, especially if to a member of a social group deemed inappropriate,
Engaging in heterosexual acts outside marriage and engaging in homosexual acts.
• Why do they occur?
o Changing cultural and economic status of women has also been used to explain the occurrences of honour killings. Women in largely patriarchal cultures who have gained economic independence from their families go against their male-dominated culture. Some researchers argue that the shift towards greater responsibility for women and less for their fathers may cause their male family members to act in oppressive and sometimes violent manners in order to regain authority.
o This change of culture can also be seen to have an effect in Western cultures such as Britain where honour killings often arise from women seeking greater independence and adopting seemingly Western values. For women who trace their ancestry back to the Middle East or South Asia, wearing clothes that are considered Western, having a boyfriend, or refusing to accept an arranged marriage are all offenses that can and have led to an honour killing.
o In some cultures, honour killings are considered less serious than other murders simply because they arise from long-standing cultural traditions and are thus deemed appropriate or justifiable.
Additionally, according to a poll done by the BBC’s Asian network, 1 in 10 of the 500 Hindus, Sikhs,...