Honor crimes are acts of violence, usually murder, committed by male family members against female family members, who are held to have brought dishonor upon the family. A woman can be targeted by (individuals within) her family for a variety of reasons, including: refusing to enter into an arranged marriage, being the victim of a sexual assault, seeking a divorce — even from an abusive husband — or (allegedly) committing adultery. The mere perception that a woman has behaved in a way that "dishonors" her family is sufficient to trigger an attack on her life.
In Turkey there is a report on Honour Suicides wherein family members encourage women and girls to commit suicide for the infraction that “dishonored” their family. While some may have been a ruse to hide the murder or honour killings this type of suicides seems to be a new derivative of the barbaric interpretation or mis-use of religion and cultural “mores”.
Amidst all these grim scenario Muslim women like Aisha Salim opted to undergo painful vaginal surgery to “restore” her virginity in a medical procedure known as hymenoplasty. Aisha is not your typical “untouch” Muslim women, a modern English University graduate just like some westerner smoked, drinked, have sex and at one time live-in with his boyfriend. She enjoyed life and probably enjoyed Madonna's song titled "Like a Virgin" had a good time until what she dreaded happened. Her parents a devout Muslim arranged for her marriage to another Muslim man.
Incredible as it may seem Aisha on her wedding night just like in any other devout Muslim marriage will have to present to her in-laws the bloodied sheets to prove her virginity…. Oh gee talk about meddling super inquisitive in-laws, and people in the western world complains and poke fun on their in-laws. I think people ought to be thankful they are not born into this sociopath culture.
What are the dire consequences should her family or both families uncover her secrets? She could be sent home by the groom and his family in disgrace and ostracized with the possibility of a deranged family member killing her to purge them of her sins. Aisha’s is not alone in her dilemna, in France Doctor Marc Abecassis, whose office is near the chic Champs Elysees, says he gets three to five inquiries and performs one to three hymenoplasties each week. France has a growing Muslim population of five million fuelling this trend a 30 minute outpatient procedure costing between 1,500 to 3,000 euros increasingly popular among young women of North African descent.
Fine for those who can afford the procedure but what about those who cannot afford said procedure or in countries where no doctors perform the procedure? In the same manner doctors are faced with a moral dilemma of performing the procedure because quite a few are performed in government hospitals where welfare state ended up footing the bill. While hymenoplasty is reimbursable in cases of rape this loophole enables those who can’t afford to get under the knife in desperation resorts to fraud than "dishonor" their family and risk getting murdered in the name of family tradition and culture.
Since the banning of wearing hijab in public places in France a heated debate among medical practitioners on the controversy over the procedure to which some say is a violation of women’s dignity and succumbing to Islamic Fundamentalist pressure. Muslim women even resort to asking for a virginity certificate to which other doctors refused to issue because virginity is clearly not a medical problem. Yes, technically it may not but other doctors would rather issue the certificate and perform the procedure than see these women mutilated, physically abused and worse killed all in the name of family honor.
Now who says that Samina Malik the so-called "Lyrical Terrorist" is a victim of state repression, compared to these women in a devout Muslim family clinging to a perverse stone age tradition hers is really a joke with jokers desperately rallying for her "cause".
There is a danger in compartmentalizing the problem to a cultural level to quote YAKIN ERTURK, UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences:
The report was dedicated to the theme of intersections between culture and violence against women. Culture-based discourses, used to justify or explain violence against women, tended to reduce the phenomenon to a cultural problem, thereby resulting in a deviation from the more general concerns for women’s rights, empowerment and inequality. Although in many parts of the world significant degrees of deviation from the universal norm of gender equality had been achieved, no country or society had fully established equality between the sexes, and consequently, violence against women, which was embedded in gender inequality, remained a universal phenomenon. It was important to underline the universality of violence against women and its socio-historical causes, as there was an increasing observance of strengthening cultural relativist claims over women’s lives, as well as a worrying trend towards singling out certain types of violence and essentialising certain cultures as the source of the problem.
Unfortunately incidents like these gets blown into such proportion where both sides of the civilization divide are looking for an excuse to annihilate each other in the armageddon prophesy of clash of civilization.