Sociology Index

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Honor killings and Honor Crimes

Honor killings and honor crimes occur in many counties among all ethnic groups and social classes irrespective of religion. The terms "honor killing" and "honor crime" is misleading because it implies that such crimes are "honorable". Honor killing is the murder of a family member or social group by group members who believe that the victim has brought dishonor to the family or group. In a male dominated society honor killings and honor crimes are commited particularly against women and are rarely reported. Honor killing is the murder of a member of a family in the belief that the victim has brought dishonor upon the family.

Honor killings and honor crimes are increasing because women in patriarchal cultures gain more and more economic independence from their families and go against their male-dominated culture. In India for example, honor killings and honor crimes are not only common, but are unfortunately commited with support from others. Men are targetted victims of honor killings if they have an inappropriate relationship with a woman or marry outside their caste or religion.

Honor killing is the murder of a member of a family in the belief that the victim has violated the principles of a community or a religion, for reasons such as divorcing their spouse, refusing to enter an arranged marriage, or being in a relationship that is disapproved by their family.

According to a study by the General Directorate of National Security, 1,091 honor killings and honor crimes were committed in Turkey between 2000 and 2005. According to the government figures released in February 2011, the murders of women in Turkey have increased fourteen-fold in seven years from 66 in 2002 to 953 in the first seven months of 2009.

In many countries, a woman perceived to be immoral can be killed to cleanse the family name. So-called honor crimes, like marrying someone without approval from elders in the family, engaging in premarital sex or even being a victim of rape are punishable by death.

While the government of Jordan doesn't sanction honor killings, the practice accounts for more than half of the women murdered. It also gives the impression that these crimes are a product of the customs and traditions specific to communities or faiths. Honor killings and honor crimes are widespread in India, across regions and communities.