Honor killings occur because women’s lives can be discarded and disposed of without any repercussions. Femicide is a pandemic and continues to embolden men to enact violence. As an honor killing survivor, I can attest to the prevalence of honor killings worldwide. I was threatened with honor killing as a college student living in the United States. The idea that honor killings only happen in a village in Pakistan by the hands of illiterate men couldn’t be further from the truth. Women (specifically Muslim women) mitigate the danger of honor killings every single day by hiding their desires, making choices out of fear, traveling with a male guardian, and enduring extreme restrictions to personal freedom and autonomy.
Honor killings epitomize my greatest fear as a former Muslim woman. I knew subconsciously that I was living my life to avoid an honor killing. I had to give up power over my career choices, clothing preferences, endured a curfew, privacy violations, monitoring of my finances, and even my major in college. I had to because I wanted to stay alive. There is nothing more rational than trying to stay alive. I take precautions with the police so that I won’t be killed over a broken tail light. I don’t take photos with visible street signs to protect myself. I obeyed my family because I knew the consequences were dire. I escaped by working two jobs. This is how someone who escaped an honor killing looks:
No woman should be killed. No woman should be killed for drinking, smoking, experimenting with her hair, having pre-marital sex or traveling alone. No woman should be killed because of who she’s dating. No woman should be killed for deciding to move across the country. No woman should be killed because she’s queer. No woman should be killed for renouncing Islam. No woman should be killed for posting a bathing suit photo on Instagram. No woman should be killed for removing her hijab. No woman should be killed for divorcing her husband. No woman should be killed for refusing forced marriage. No woman should be killed for doing sex work. No woman should be killed for being trans. No woman should be killed for refusing to give out her phone number. No woman should be killed for saying no. No woman should be killed for running away. No woman should be killed for out-earning her male partner. No woman should be killed for insulting a man. No woman should be killed for choosing a self-determined life. No woman should be killed.
As I said in my tweet, Muslim men reporting on Muslim women to their families is attempted murder. White people who call the police on Black people recognize the historical, economic, structural and political power the police have over Black people in the US and worldwide vis-à-vis military-industrial complex. Muslim men know women are paid less than them, receive less access to citizenship, financial security, education, opportunities, and support networks, therefore, we are disproportionately vulnerable to honor killings. Muslim men reporting on Muslim women is attempted murder. We need to create policies and repercussions because honor killings will not end until there are real consequences for violence against women. #EndFemicide