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Honor Killings, What Does it Feel to be a Problem? What Does it Feel to be a Woman? Jordan as an Example

Taghreed M Abu Sarhan*

Assistant Professor, Department of Social Wellbeing, UAE

*Corresponding author: Taghreed M Abu Sarhan, Assistant Professor, Department of Social Wellbeing, UAE

Submission: January 27, 2020; Published: February 27, 2020

Volume1 Issue2
February, 2020

Abstract

Honor killings in all over the world, mainly within the Muslim communities, takes the attention and the concern of human rights activists and women’s forums discussions. However, despite all the human rights instruments, local legal codes, and research that have been done so far, the crime is still in the loop. Honor crimes in Jordan is one of the crimes that the country has not been able to stop despite the change in the law, education and political well in the country. However, this paper is not tackling honor killings from a legal angle or as a social problem. Rather, it articulates the fact that women need to recover their voice exactly as Mary Prince did in McBride’s book Truth, Abolitionism, and Slave Testimony Impossible Witnesses [1] Mary Prince who lived “freedom” although she was bounded by all the barriers looks like most victims of honor killings in the Arab world in general and in Jordan in particular. This paper aims at liking impact of honor killings in Jordan to the same impact of accepting crimes under the name of honor and accepting the outcomes of being a victim of the honor killings crime. This paper concludes that the war against honor crimes in Jordan should take the path that Mary Prince took to fight slavery.

Keywords: Honor killings; Honor; Jordan; Slavery; Mary prince

Introduction

In his book Truth, Abolitionism, and Slave Testimony Impossible Witnesses, Dwight McBride A desires to recover the voice of the female slave in the Americans. Not only his work hopes to recover Mary Prince’s voice as a slave, but also to find what exists embedded in that voice, and her agency [2]. Working at the field of domestic violence and sexual assaults for almost seventeen years and now an academic professor who teach students to stand up for their human rights have pushed me to write on many areas related to social justice and especially the topic of “Honor Killing” in Jordan. During all those years of work in Jordan, I came across many painful cases of honor crimes and interviewed many potential honor crimes, victims. For the purpose of this paper, I am going to address the issue of honor killings in Jordan through analyzing the issue of honor in the Arabic culture and the situation of Arab women as possessions to the male relative in a patriarchal society like Jordan. As the theoretical framework for this work, I will use McBride’s piece (“I know what a Slave Knows” My Prince as a Witness or the Rhetorical Uses of Experience) from his book Impossible Witnesses. I will also use Munoz piece “Chico, what does it feel like to be a problem? The Transmission of Brownness and “Feeling Brown: Ethnicity and Affect in Ricardo Bracho’s the Sweetest Hangover (and other STDs).” Finally, I will use Kempadoo’s Piece “Victims and Agents of Crime” From her book Global Lockdown Race, Gender, and the Prison-Industry Complex. McBride’s theory of ownership of the slaves, such as Mary Prince, gave all rights to their masters to beat and mistreat them as if they are their material possessions. Beating, humiliating and even killing a slave was a personal issue for the master. Slaves did not have the courage to report “these moments of unspeakable horror [3].”

Victims of honor killing in Jordan and all over the Arab world suffer beating, humiliating, and a deadly end. They are most of the times found scarred with many bruises on their bodies just before they were getting killed and this is very similar to what black slaves suffer as McBride claims when he describes Prince “…. scarred, black body - unlike the language of rhetoric - cannot but tell the truth. In the absence of the real, unmediated slave experience - which, as I have said, is impossible to access - the closest one can hope to come to that real experience is Prince’s black body: the very palimpsest upon which slave experience in indelibly written for all to read [4].”

For the purpose of this paper, I will divide my work into two main parts. In the first part, I will introduce the issue of honor killings in Jordan backing up my information with official statistical figures from the Family Protection Department/Police Directorate in Jordan. In the second part of this paper, I will examine the situation of women in Jordan, which is considered a patriarchal society. I will also explore the conceptions of ownership and material possession comparing that with the case of Mary Prince as analyzed by McBride to make a kind of relation between McBride’s theory and the Jordanian female victims of honor crimes. Moreover, I will analyze the feelings of the survived victims of honor killings and how they define themselves as “problem”. I will relate this feeling to Munoz piece “Chico, what does it feel to be a problem? The Transmission of Brownness.” I will also explore the impact of victimization by family members on the potential victims of honor killings when they are ended up in prisons for protection and how sometimes they turned on to unwilling prostitution or they become targets of sex trafficking agents through some women prostitutes from whom they share same cells in the women prison in Jordan when those victims choose to be under protective custody rather than going out of the jail and being killed by their family members.

This paper explores the phenomena of honor killings in Jordan. The paper also raises the legal and religious issues over honor killings and whether this crime is an Islamic issue, or it is a cultural one. the paper drags the serious and careful comparison between vulnerable women in the history of the world like Mary Prince who was owned by her master to show that brave battles must have a victorious end. Mary Prince managed to attract the world’s attention to the abolition and suffrage she faced so Arab women must be brave enough to stop the subordination and suffering that they encountered in a form of honor killing. In my conclusion, I will draw on some of the relations between the three situations for women in the three of works that I mentioned and victims of honor killings in Jordan to reach some solutions to combat the problem of honor killings in Jordan.

“Honor killings” and Islam

Honor killings crime is a pre - Islamic custom that continues amongst some Muslims. A devout Muslim who understands his religion correctly would never take another life by his hands. In reality, such crime has nothing to do with the true faith of Islam. The practice of “honor killings” is a form of murder without trial, which is contrary to Islam. Islam upholds the sanctity of human life, as the Holy Qur’an declares that killing one innocent human being is kin to killing the entire human race [5]. Like all faith traditions, Islam considers all forms of life as sacred. There is certainly no justification for such a practice under the name of “Honor Killings” in Islamic law (shari’a). Islam recognizes and celebrates the inherent dignity given by God to all human beings regardless of their religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. Qur’an is explicit in its emphasis on the equality between men and women before God. This is clear in the following verse of the Holy Qur’an: “And their Lord has accepted of them and answers them, “never will I suffer to be lost the work of any of you, whether male or female, you are members, one of another [6]”.

According to Islam, God chose to forgive both Adam and Eve as a result of their transgression. Their sin is not inherited by subsequent generations as the following verse exemplified: “whenever chooses to follow the right bath follows it but for his own good; and whoever goes astray, goes but astray to his own heart; and no bearer of burdens shall be made to bear another’s burden” [7].

The previous verses show us that one individual, no matter how guilty, cannot transfer that guilt to another. This means that women who engage in immoral or sexual activities, they are alone bear the consequences of their immoral act as determined by God [8]. “Honor Killings” is a crime which is forbidden under the most interpretations of Islam. There is no specific mention of this practice in the Qur’an or Sunnah. An Honor Killing in Islamic definitions refers to extra-legal punishment by the family against the woman and this technically forbidden by the “Shari’ah” Islamic law [9].

Honor killings in Jordan: Background

In Jordan, an indefinite number of innocent women are killed by their family members every year in the name of family “honor.” Almost 18 - 25 women are killed each year. The crime continues despite the change in the Law. However, not much publication or announcement on this crime. Now, they announce under different titles like “A young kills his sister after a fight or a conflict” [10]. The phenomenon of so-called “honor killings” derives from customary notions of family honor and reputation among some traditional communities, both Muslims, and Christians. In Jordan, there is a societal trend toward toleration of honor killings. Police forces and judiciary institutions do not investigate such cases seriously and usually, they put the burden on the female victim. After investigating those who survived the killing, the best of what can be done for them is to place them as potential victims of honor killings in a protective custody in the same prison with other women offenders. There is one women’s shelter in Jordan that was established in the year 2006. Most cases accommodated in the shelter are victims or survivors of domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assaults or girls who fled their family homes due to mistreatment of family members. The shelter only offers a temporary accommodation.

Most victims who are considered at risk of honor crimes are not allowed to stay in the shelter since they are highly threatened by their families. Usually, potential victims of honor killings and those who survived choose to stay in the prison because they know that if they go out of the jail family members will target them. However, some of these victims are targeted by women who work in prostitution and become potential victims of sex trafficking or prostitutes against their well the minute they are outside the protective custody in the prison.

According to the Arab culture, a man must strive to maintain his honor at all costs. He must fight, even lie or kill, to protect his honor and that of his family [11]. He reacts as the owner of the slave with no fear of the law or the punishment. Conversely, when a man fails to protect his honor, he is shamed. He may regain his honor by revenge against those who shamed him, often through bloodshed. “Honor Killings” or honor crimes, in general, refers to the act of murder, attempted murder, or violence toward a woman by a male relative on the basis of personal or family honor. Honor is threatened when a woman engages in or is suspected of engaging in an immoral act. Another definition could be “murders carried out by family members against girls and women who are believed to have committed a sexual indiscretion or to have caused gossip related to sexual behavior that besmirches the honor of the family” [12].

Background of the phenomena

Honor crime is a pre - Islamic custom that continues among some Muslims. Many people relate this crime to Islam, and it is very important here to mention that. Honor crime is a form of murder without a trial, which is contrary to Islam. Like all faith traditions, Islam considers all forms of life as sacred and it upholds the sanctity of human life as the Holy Qur’an declares that “killing one innocent human being is kin to killing the entire human race” [13].

Role of formal and non-formal organizations in combatting honor crimes in Jordan

Jordanian institutions especially women organizations have struggled to combat honor crime in Jordan. As Mary Prince called the good people in The History of Mary Prince “I have been a slave - I have felt what a slave feels, and I know what a slave know; and I would have all the good people in England to know it too, that they may break our chains, and set us free [14].” Jordan women’s movement tried to break the chains as and react toward the many calls that they receive from all over the world to stop the crime, but they fail.

The previous law and amendment have not stopped the crime from happening. The Jordanian Parliament fought any amendment to the existing law where people who found guilty of committing honor killings often sentences as light as six months in prison. Those perpetrators usually not educated, unemployed, and from a poor class and here, it is good to remember Foucault when he says, “the dynamic groups of the lower social class commit the crime. By committing crimes, they were calling for a change in the social system and rebelling against the social elite [15].”.

Commenting on that, I can say what Foucault contends is right. Honor crimes’ perpetrators usually ask, “What the alternative to killing our female relative is?” “If we do not kill our females who abused our honor, society will blame us and look down to us.” Those offenders are seeking a better place in society by killing these female relatives. They are calling for a social change and the required change is the change in people’s attitude. Society looks at women as objects or possessives to their male relatives. Therefore, this assumption or view by society put a burden on male’s shoulder that they should execute those who do not behave according to the family and society rules. Jordan’s society is a patriarchal one like all societies in the glob in which men own women and they feel that they have all the rights to react violently when their women commit any immoral faults. Offenders do not fear law, punishment, or prison. They know very well that society and the judicial system have tolerance for them since the majority of those who investigate, and judge are men. It is like a silent agreement between the whole society and those who are after the crime.

Role of human rights and women rights activists in eliminating the number of honor killings

Women activists in Jordan have drawn attention to honor crimes since the 1990s. They managed to organize a campaign against what so-called honor killings. They succeeded to gather 15,000 signatures on a petition to repel Article 340 of the Jordanian Penal Code (JPC). The article reads “he who discovers his wife or one of his female relatives committing adultery with another man, and kills, wounds, injures one or both of them is exempt from penalties” [16].

The Jordanian Parliament rejected the amendments on basis that these are just western ideas that intend to corrupt society and damage the family cohesion. After a lot of pressure from human rights organizations inside and outside Jordan and after the participation of some members of the royal family in campaigns that support combating honor crimes. Article 340 was amended in April 2004, but that amendment has not changed anything and only aimed to silence those who are against the crime [17].

The new amendment applied the same exemption to women who kill their husbands who are caught committing adultery. The contradiction and the proof of the patriarchal intentions in a patriarchal society are the conditions they added to women in order to get benefit of this exemption is that (husbands should be caught committing adultery in the marital home), but for husbands, they can kill their wives anywhere they caught them). This, of course has not solve the problem or stop killings. The legislator’s justification of the distinction in the article between husband’s and wife’s was an Islamic interpretation and that is the fact that the other women whom might be caught by the wife might be another wife of the husband which is legal in Islam where men can have more than one wife at the same time [18].

According to the official statistics, amending the law has not changed or decreased honor killings number. This might return to the fact that the article, which was amended, was the wrong one. The article tackles which was amended was the one that tackles adultery. Women who are killed based on honor, usually killed for reasons other than adultery. These reasons range from relationships outside marriage, flee from home, making their own decisions without referring to family, living alone, choosing a husband and get married without the consent of the family, and on rumorsbased issues. Jordan is changing dramatically. However, honor crimes have proved to be a difficult problem to be terminated in a conservative society where culture, religion, and tribal customs are deeply rooted in the minds of people as public and as institutions.

Methodology and Analysis

Statistics are not accurate on the number of “Honor Killings” committed in Jordan in particular. According to a report by the Christian Science Monitor in March 2005, “Honor Killings” account for one - quarter of all violent deaths in Jordan [19]. Statistics on the number of victims and anything related to the Honor Killings that occur in Jordan vary from one source to another. There is a problem in collecting data on this field because of fear of revenge by family members. Statistics of the criminal investigation Department does not show the classification of the crime and whether it was based on honor or another type of murder. So, most of the statistics come from private sectors like the Jordan Times, which is a Jordanian daily Newspaper is always higher than the official ones which come from the police sector, judicial sector or the Ministry of Interior. Nonetheless, “Honor Killings” constitutes 25% of the murder in Jordan.

McBride answers the fundamental intellectual question the work poses, “what does it mean for a slave to bear witness to, or to tell the “truth” about slavery? “He argues persuasively that Prince authenticates the slave experience not only through her verbal assertion that “I know what a slave knows” but also through her scarred slave body, “the very palimpsest upon which slave experience is indelibly written for all to read [20].” McBride assertion about Prince’s sufferings is just similar to tens of girls and women who were victims of honor crimes who according to the pathologists of the National Forensic Medicine Center in Jordan, their bodies and virginities after their death showed that they were innocents (JNFMC, 2018). Statistics show that 80% of murdered women in “Honor Killings” in Jordan is found to be virgins. The following table is the statistics from an official source and that is the Public Security Directorate. Real number might be bigger than what is shown in the table because there is always a black figure and what we experience is only the iceberg (Table 1).

Table 1: The Jordanian criminal statistics.


There is always a black figure in “honor killings” crimes. The previous figures are the official ones. Maybe the real number of victims is much more since many killings have gone unreported or being put under other types like suicide or accident. The figure in the year 2004 decreased compared to the numbers in the other years. This decrease might go back to the national campaign that women activists in Jordan lead to abolish Article 340 of the Jordanian Penal Code. Prince Ali bin Al Hussein and Prince Ghazi bin Talal participate in this campaign to stress the political will that aims to prevent the crime.

A survey conducted by the Jordan Times newspaper showed % 62 of the population support honor killings [21]. This horrifying result emphasizes the need for resistance. Mary Prince’s history expresses an epistemology of resistance, despite the great limitation that slavery imposed on her that time. This should be the case when it comes to honor killings. Again, figures that come from Jordan means population’s attitude toward honor killings. Of course, it is not easy to change attitude of people and inherited beliefs that are rooted in minds of people. However, women in the Arab world should fight together to break the chain of slavery and victimization same as Mary Prince did. Empowerment of women is a big need in the Arab Muslim World in general and Jordan in particular.

On the other hand, compiling reliable statistics on violence against women in Jordan is difficult because of the private protected nature of the abuse. A serious constraint to documenting the extent and nature to which women are victims of violence is the absence of data and informative on the size of the problem. This data gap is due to the sensitivity, linked to the fact that most of these cases fall under domestic violence.

Ownership, feeling a problem, and sex trafficking victims

Through her proclamation upon departing her owners’ residence in London, in front of witnesses, about her owners’ behavior toward her and hers toward them, Prince casts herself in the role of the knowing agent, who had abided by the dictates of the morality her owners should have known better than she did: Stop, before you take up this trunk, and her what I have to say before these people. I am going out of this house, as I ordered by; but I have done no wrong at all to my owners, neither here nor in the West Indies. I always worked very hard to please them, both by night and day; but there was no giving satisfaction, for my mistress could never be satisfied with reasonable service. Victims of honor killings in Jordan suffer the issue of ownership and being possessions for the families before getting married and possessions for their husbands after getting married. The ownership process goes from fathers and brothers as male members who own the woman to ownership of husbands who own the women after they are being sold by their male relatives since marriage is the best way for men to secure females and make sure that they are not having sex or any relationship of any kind with men outside of marriage.

The problem of honor crime in the Arab world starts since the day a female born. Almost every female in the Arab world prefers having males rather than having females. It is not infrequent that some wives get divorced if they get birth to girls only. People consider males as real deserves for inheriting their money, properties, or another fortune they have. When the female girl started school and sometimes years before that, families started to work hard to prepare her on how to obey male members in the family and how to follow their instructions. Some of these instructions are like how to protect her body from others by covering it and not by knowing the best ways of how not to let others touch is a private issue. They also started to prepare her to put on the veil as a kind of protection rather than a religious issue in most of the cases. One of the most important things that girls of the house should learn is how to serve the male members especially the father, the brothers, and other male relatives. Cooking, washing the dishes, doing the laundry, ironing, and keeping the house clean and tidy are jobs assigned for women by the whole patriarchal society. If a man is caught doing one of these jobs his manhood is questioned.

Women are treated like properties by male members of the family. Males believe that they have a superior power and degree of female members because society tolerates most of what males do and the way they behave. So, men take decisions on behalf of their female relatives. These decisions vary between things related to marriage, work, education, hanging out with people even from the same sex, having properties themselves, controlling their own money, and travel. Taking decisions on behalf of female relatives comes from the way males are raised in such a patriarchal society. Religion participated in a way or another in raising men this way, but misinterpretation of religion participated much more in the way males think and behave. In Islam, for example, a woman inherits half of what a man inherits. Two women’s testimonies weigh one-man testimony in courts. Also, in the Arab history and pre-Islam women were treated as properties and sexual items. Some women used to be slaves and people sell and buy them. The treatment of women like properties and sexual objects extended until today to affect the way men look to other women and to their own women and female relatives. They think these sexual objects must be protected from eyes and tongues of others by controlling their movements, the way they dress, and their choices.

On the other hand, men look down at women who are not covered or who do not wear decent clothes that hide their bodies and hair. The female body in the Arabic culture is considered as kind of attractions that women should always protect and hide so as not to seduce men and cause scandals for their families by damaging the family honor which in most cases lies between the women’s legs. At the same time, men allow to themselves to have relationships with women outside the home and this is one of the main reasons that push them to go back and control their own women and female relatives. What they allow for themselves is not allowed to females. They control women because in the first point they do not want other men to mess with their own females, so they cover them and control their movements and choices. Women have to follow their male’s decisions and what they choose for them. They should follow and obey the instructions of the father, brothers, and husbands when they move to the marital house. In any time, they rebel, they become subjects of honor crimes in any minute.

Women are considered immoral when they conduct any of the behavior that is measured in deviation with social rules and family instructions. If a female chooses to get married against the will of the family, decides to work or get education without the approval of the family members especially males, going out without the consent of the family, and to dress the way she likes, she will be a subject of an honor crime by her male relatives any minute.

Through my job that I have in the Family Protection Department within the Police Directorate in Jordan, I had the chance to interview some of the survived victims of honor killings and sometimes accompany them to the governor, court, or even the jail. Through the entire interview, most of the victims keep saying “It was my fault. I am the problem. If I did not do so and so my brother would never have to try to kill me.” All those structures of feelings that victims suffer and feel enable them to even participate in a counter-public sphere [22]. Women are raised and constructed by their mothers and families to “problem”. Since their early childhood, girls hear words like “you are the problem of my life. If you were not in my life or if you were a boy, it would be easier for me to get a divorce” or things like “you are all problems” and the traditional Arabic saying “Girls burden goes until the day of their death.” Considering women as the origin of all evil and mistakes on earth maybe go back to our mother Eve. Men still blame her until today of eating that damned apple and caused that Godly punishment for Adam. Men see Eve as the only one who is behind all the sufferings that the world encounter today. In the Arab world, even if the woman is a victim of rape, she is the one to be blamed by the society, her family, and the formal institutions like police and judiciary system. They accuse her of seducing the man who raped her because she wears so and so or because she did not fight for the rape so as not to happen. Victims blame themselves as well. A victim once said to me “it was my fault. I ran away from my parents’ home because my brothers and my father beat me, and I ended up wandering in the streets after midnight. This is how a man met me and offered his help. After that he took me to where he claimed a family house, I found out that there was nobody in the house. He raped me and I ended up on the street again where I caught by police. It was my fault. I am the problem. If I did not run away and walk alone in the night, no one will rape me. Now if my father kills me, I will not blame him. It is my fault. I know I was always a problem.” These women’s status and construction as “problem” “cannot simply be projected out, dismissed, dumped on the other. Indeed, a more reparative move is required, which is, more nearly, holding onto the problematic, fractured, and negated status of self within the social and working through such a position, striving to find new ways of living in the world [23].”

Survived victims of honor crimes have two choices after being interviewed and examined in the Family Protection Department. One of these choices is to go back to their family household, which the family always insists on, and here they have to sign some paperwork in front of the governor that ensures the safety and protection of the girl when she chooses to go back home. The second choice is to go to prison as a kind of a protective and administrative custody. When the family members threaten her, the family members themselves refuse to accept her again in the family household, or when the girl herself refuses to go back home believing that she will be a victim of honor crime again or a subject of beating and humiliating.

Most of the women who choose to go back home after the guarantee the family takes in front of the governor, come back to the Department within days as autopsies. Those who choose the prison’s option live longer but a different and a difficult life. Victims who are above the age of eighteen can leave the prison anytime they want if anyone can pail them out. Unfortunately, they choose to stay in because they know that if they go out, they will be caught and killed by family members. In the prison, they mix and mingle with women of different crimes. Some of these women work in prostitution. Survived honor crimes victims are always subjected by those women and convinced to go out and work with them. To prove what Kempadoo claims when she asserts that “…engagement in sex industries and sex work abroad appear as possibilities that women willing or consciously undertake within specific culture, national, or international parameters” [24], some victims do because they think whatever the life is in the prostitution house it would be no worse than living in a prison. Some of these victims might be good targets to be moved outside the country by some sex trafficking agents and work in the sex labor. Kempadoo suggests imposing sanctions on countries that involved in sex trafficking [25]. I wonder if the USA would impose such sanctions on countries where individuals work in sex trafficking and under different names like “housemaids” or “nannies”. I would like to argue against what Kempadoo believes that rich and developed countries are the only consumers and violators of trafficked labor. Contrary to Kempadoo, I believe that poor and developed countries work also in sex trafficking and sex trade. Those countries have their own sex trafficking agents which are accelerated dramatically in the Arab world and that was obvious immediately after the American war in Iraq in 2003.

Conclusion

so-called Honor Killings is based on ignorance and disregard of morals and laws which cannot be abolished except by disciplinary punishment. Sophisticated police work and crimesolving expertise are rarely required to solve an honor crime. This murder is a whole family decision and not an individual one. The killing is meant to be a public statement. In many cases, the killer has turned himself to the police and freely confesses. Moreover, police do not investigate such cases seriously. In general, police rarely investigate honor killings seriously and seldom take any action or initiative to deter these crimes, and typically treat killers as justified men. Police also routinely force women to undergo painful and humiliating virginity examinations at the request of their families in order to determine whether their hymens are intact. This is the experience and knowledge those professional men have inherited from the society they live in. if a woman or a girl refuses the virginity test this means judging her that she is not virgin and this is the only base for her to refuse the test.

Due to the brutality of honor killings, the loss of many innocent lives government of Jordan must be serious and brave to lead a new change and to adopt different and more effective policies to stop the crime. Changing the article related to honor crime might not be fruitful without being combined with educating the public. A rebel by women of Jordan, especially of those who are young and educated, against all forms of subordination and all other forms of women’s slavery should take place by women in Jordan after being educated and aware same as Mary Prince Whose History expresses an epistemology of resistance, despite the great limitations that slavery imposed on her. Through her proclamation upon departing her owners’ residence in London, in front of witnesses, about her owner’s behavior toward her and hers toward them, Prince casts herself in the role of the knowing agent, who had abided by the dictates of the morality her owners should have known better than she did: Stop, before you take up the trunk, and hear what I have to say before these people. I am going out of this house, as I ordered [by my owners]; but I have done no wrong at all to my owners, neither here nor in the West, Indies. I always worked very hard to please them, both by night and day; but there was no giving satisfaction, for my mistress could never be satisfied with reasonable service [26]. So, women in the Arab world should take the lesson from Prince’s struggle to be free and combat all forms of slavery and blind obedience to males in a patriarchal society such as Jordan and other Arab countries.

On the other hand, education that aims to change the mentality of people is a critical need and must direct them to gain positive attitude to stand against honor killings and consider it a crime. An organized awareness campaign should be conducted by members of all people working in the field of violence against women and from potential victims themselves as witnesses of the crime so as to support the change and to convince the public of the importance of change. Government representatives, nongovernmental organizations (NGO’s) that support women, family, and human rights should participate in this campaign. Religious leaders, community scholars, academics, lawyers, police officers, judges, and representatives of mass media must take part in the campaign. A time frame for the campaign should be arranged and six months is a meaningful time because more than this time might make people bored of the repetition of the issue and might cause them to lose their enthusiasm to support the change. Then different activities take place at the same time. Bold flashes on TV and other mass media must be presented daily to awake people and let them think seriously about the brutality of honor killings.

In addition, an important part of education and the core of the changing attitude process is the education in schools’ system. A vital issue is changing school curriculum. This change needs a great will and a proof of many stakeholders like the ministry of education, the ministry of finance, the prime minister, Islamic front, and the parliament. All these stakeholders might oppose any change in schools’ curriculum especially when the change is in topics that show subordination of women and support the patriarchal society. Ministry of education, the ministry of finance, and the prime minister might oppose the change just on a cost basis. This opposing is very easily solved by trying to convince NGO’s and international organizations that support human rights issues to help in funding. These organizations usually welcome any change that enhances human rights issues and they will be pleased to fund such a change. Women who are potential victims of honor crimes especially those who are under protective custody in the Prison must speak out because they are real witnesses who speak the truth and their stories are authentic. Prince’s witness was based on the creation of a transcendent subject position that allowed her to claim that female black slaves were the authentic dispensers of knowledge about slave conditions and those potential victims can speak up because they are in the same position that Princes spoke from. McBride notes that this position allowed Prince to explain why drastic measures needed to be taken, because “even if the people of the England know of the brutalities of slavery are not themselves slaves. This is an experiential gap that only a slave can fill.” Those innocents who some of them spent years and years in the prison without any hope of going out need to speak about why drastic measures needed to be taken. They need to show the public and their families that both are pushing them to prostitution and being victims again for agents of sex trafficking if they are not welcomed again in society. Families and Society as a whole can be convinced and silenced if everyone keeps using the right interpretation of the Qur’an and the verses that show the severity of killing a human being and the verses that oppose the discrimination between male and female. Qur’an admonishes those who oppose or ill-treat women and here is an example of the Qur’an to show that “ O you who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will, nor should you treat them with harshness”.

To conclude, the war against honor killings is a harsh one and costs a lot. It is exactly similar in many ways to Prince’s war against slavery, but there must be the first step. It is not easy to stop the crime in a society where culture, religion, and tribal instructions are deeply rooted in minds of public and stakeholders as well. This war against honor killings crime needs encourages and determination to lead change in society. Rebellion through education and writing about what women witnesses suffer might be the effective factors to combat the crime.

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© 2020 Taghreed M Abu Sarhan. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and build upon your work non-commercially.



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