Five Things About Honor Violence You Need to Know

#1 Not all honor violence results in killings

Honor killings are the most extreme form of honor violence. While the global numbers are estimated at 5,000 women and girls who are victims of honor killings each year, there are millions of women and girls worldwide and thousands in the US who are subject to violence and abuse in an attempt to control their sexuality and protect their family’s and/or community’s “honor.” The vast majority of honor violence crimes are not detected nor reported, leaving the victims to suffer in isolation and feel they are on their own and devoid of options.

#2 Honor violence happens in the US

While there is work to be done in capturing information about honor violence in the US and despite the fact that it is often categorized as domestic violence or child abuse, cases have been recorded. Honor violence may decrease over time as we work to improve the integration of new immigrants, however it remains that some communities are isolated, and continue to maintain traditional gender roles and male-dominated family structures.

#3 Law enforcement, health providers, domestic violence professionals, and school administrators are not always equipped to handle honor violence cases

For many victims and survivors, reporting honor violence means taking a stand against their families and communities. This is incredibly difficult, and may lead to retribution and an escalation of abuse. Unfortunately, not all frontline service providers such as law enforcement, domestic violence professionals, health providers, and school administrators have received training to recognize honor violence and respond appropriately. An inappropriate response may mean putting a victim or survivor at even more risk.

#4 Honor violence doesn’t only happen to women and girls

The most common survivors and victims of honor violence are women and girls but that doesn’t mean that other groups are not at risk. Heterosexual men may be accused of“dishonoring” a woman or girl, in which case both may be subject to honor violence, or men suspected of homosexuality or non-conforming gender identities may be subject to honor violence from their own families and communities.  

#5 There is no simple or quick solution to ending honor violence

Ending honor violence will not be fast and it will not be easy.  It requires a comprehensive approach and time for social change: ensuring legislation is in place to protect those at risk, training frontline service providers, teachers, and judges, empowering women and girls at risk by giving them the information and services they need, and addressing the gender norms and attitudes that place so much emphasis on controlling the sexuality of women and girls.


Let us know what you think – write your comments in the comments area below:

What surprised you on this list? If you are engaged in preventing and ending honor violence, what would you put on this list?

7 Comments

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  2. Robin Foster says:

    Honor violence is a lot more common than it looks. If you call someone in your family an abuser, you will not be listened to in a lot of communities. My family started with honor violence and putting me into hospitals by the time I was a straight-A 12 year old. I had no mental health problems at all then and was child happy to be with my friends. It escalated as I got older (as an adult) to the point where I wouldn’t be listened to if someone were going to kill me. I figured that out while I was young. People feed medication and isolate people they harm. Psychiatric abuse of children to protect offender parents is common in communities where people have an “image to keep”. Locking children down in relgiious enviornments where they are completely physically, emotionally and religiously controlled is a means to conceal what goes on at home. I went to several schools closed due to this abuse of teens. Torture of an adult child is revenge or neglect so severe that it leads to a homicide or a suicide is typical..I learned this a long time ago. Men need respect and virginity should be kept. My mother was forced into marriage. I never got to that point and wasn’t as willing to listen and ran from my home Emancipation efforts were ended while in progress.

    As an adult, I have been diagnosed with PTSD (which I have other personal beliefs about). I have hurt myself with substances from the shame and abuse that people give when you accuse a man of abuse. I’ve been sexually assaulted and “put to sleep” by police when accusing another man of rape who I rented from.

    I don’t talk to my family anymore. I don’t care. I’ve found that there’s safety in numbers and it’s normal to seek yourself. Honor violence is extremely serious and I’m very aware of it’s reality in my life and community. I do my best to avoid people who “stand by their man” and “submit” and have realized that I’m never going to do that and have to be careful with who I talk to and know, now.

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  7. No act of violence can or will re-establish respect for a person so we have to quit approving these activities with embeddings respect to the phrasing. To utilize the word respect in reference to these killings is to embrace the point of view of the assailants instead of the assaulted. Respect brutality is utilized as methods for compelling girls and women into compliance, an approach to control their lives and their bodies yet there is no respect in stripping somebody of their opportunity.

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