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Should "Honor" Crimes/Killings carry a higher punishment (similar to hate crimes), and do you think it would help to deter them from happening?

The official world wide estimate is that each year 5000 women are killed for "honor" by their husbands, fathers, brothers & other family members. Here in the US the number is much lower than in other countries, but the problem is growing as more and more people from China, Africa & the Middle East immigrate to the US. While the media tends not to cover these incidence (because they fall under "domestic crimes") they are prosecuted as homicide (with at times other charges going hand in hand).

No matter how it's prosecuted the abuse or killing of a woman simply because she wants a decent, normal, free lifestyle (that of your average US citizen) is one of the most depressing things I can think of.

So, should "honor" crimes carry a heavier weight than they do, and do you feel it would help to deter future growth of this trend in the US?

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SabrinaMBowen

Asked by SabrinaMBowen at 10:22 AM on Jul. 9, 2010 in Religion & Beliefs

Level 40 (122,988 Credits)
Answers (18)
  • Yes. These "people" have to get the message that they can't treat humans like this in OUR country.
    matthewscandi

    Answer by matthewscandi at 10:24 AM on Jul. 9, 2010

  • Should they carry a higher punishment?  Not for me to decide, but either way it won't make a difference.  These attitudes are deeply ingrained from early childhood.  The only way to stop them is to break the cycle.

    beeky

    Answer by beeky at 10:28 AM on Jul. 9, 2010

  • I think these crimes fall through the cracks because of the nature of the crime. When families are abusing and killing each other they can be hard to detect and hard to prosecute. It involves very active work from the person being abused and attacked. They have to be their own advocate and they have to seek help actively. Often the victims are mentally and verbally abused and often are confused and worn down from constant abuse. If the vicitim has lost their "will" so to speak, then they often give in. When you think about it, domestic violence falls through the cracks all the time here as well. I think it is important to help each other and build each other up. You never know when you are helping more than you know.
    NikkiMomof2grls

    Answer by NikkiMomof2grls at 10:30 AM on Jul. 9, 2010

  • I don't believe in "hate crimes/murders," simply put, every crime or murder is a type of hate action. There is a lot of discrimination involved in the prosecution of hate crimes/murders. I absolutely hate it when various crimes/murders carry different conviction mandates because of who committed them or who was murdered. For instance, I have a retired police officer as a sibling. I personally don't believe law enforcement should have a special designation, that if you kill one you will receive the death penalty, etc. Why should someone receive a stiffer sentence because of who they kill when all people are created equal? I do believe in stiff punishments and the death penalty. Our Constitution states, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
    joysings

    Answer by joysings at 10:32 AM on Jul. 9, 2010

  • Beeky, I understand that! And that's why I'm including "honor crimes" and not just killings in the discussion today. If authorities can step in early, when it's at an abuse level, and remove a child or arrest a man (which now rarely happens because these are "domestic issues") early on rather than allowing it to continue they cycle CAN be broken. But as the laws are now, domestic issues are generally ignored unless the wife or other witness is willing to say "I'm in danger" which these women/children won't do...
    SabrinaMBowen

    Comment by SabrinaMBowen (original poster) at 10:33 AM on Jul. 9, 2010

  • Also, I believe if victims are forced to submit to the point of abuse due to perversions of religious customs and practices that it makes a bad situation infinitely worse.
    NikkiMomof2grls

    Answer by NikkiMomof2grls at 10:34 AM on Jul. 9, 2010

  • No. I don't think there should be higher penalties. But, I also think we need to be up front about them, the reasons for them,  and also not let people claim "cultural" differences as an excuse or mitigation. It being socially acceptable to murder your daughter for not wearing a hijab (Aqsa Parves) or beating her and threatening to kill her for having a Hindu boyfriend (Afshan Azad) in your homelands culture should not lessen the penalties handed down in the country you chose to emigrate to.


    In short, higher penalties won't change anything. Rather people need to be convinced that women are not merely chattel whose actions reflect on the honour of her male relatives, but humans equal in value to men.

    Bezu

    Answer by Bezu at 10:48 AM on Jul. 9, 2010

  • Sabrina, this was the first thing that come to my mind when I read your post.


    http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/toronto/archive/2007/12/11/girl-16-dies-after-hijab-dispute-with-father.aspx


    How can any punishment deter a man who would choose honour over his daughter's LIFE?


     

    beeky

    Answer by beeky at 10:50 AM on Jul. 9, 2010

  • Here is the actual article which started the question.


    http://www.marieclaire.com/world-reports/news/latest/honor-killings-in-america

    SabrinaMBowen

    Comment by SabrinaMBowen (original poster) at 11:34 AM on Jul. 9, 2010

  • Beeky- I understand what you are saying. My thing is though is that these men see women as "less" than them, so they don't see a reason to choose their kids or wives lives over honor... But if THEY saw a threat to their own lives (which obviously mean more to them) there is more of a determent... I mean, sure, these men are willing to take someone elses life, but what if it was their life being put in danger? Would they still see it as worth it? Right now, these men are getting 5-10 year prison terms because they are "first offenses" or worse, we are deporting them back to a place that they and their actions are seen as the norm.

    Without increasing punishment, how do we deter these actions at all? Or should we just step back and let it continue? How do we break that cycle?
    SabrinaMBowen

    Comment by SabrinaMBowen (original poster) at 11:37 AM on Jul. 9, 2010

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