December 9, 2014
Honor Killings in Jordan
Family honor is highly valued by the Jordanian people. In Jordan the family honor is preserved through the women. The way things work in Jordan is completely different from how it is in the USA. Actions taken in Jordan to preserve family honor would be seen as absurd in the United States. Jordanians go through extreme measures to show just how important the preservation of family honor is to them. In many cases the women who are suspected of violating their family honor will be murdered. These killings are seen as a way to restore the family’s honor, but many people are against honor killings. The honor killings that are taking place in Jordan are a very serious issue. The world needs to be informed about what exactly what is going on, why honor killings are wrong, and what the victims go through on a daily basis.
The behavior of the women, especially young women, is what determines family honor in Jordan. Marriage is very important to the people of this country; women who are not married are seen as abnormal. Young, unmarried, working women are starting to become more common in this generation but the single life is still looked down upon. In her article “Women and Family Honor: The Face of Feminine Identity in Jordan” June Miller noted, “Unmarried young career women are phenomena of the new generation, and society is still quite uncomfortable with the idea” (12). There is absolutely no dating in Jordan. If there is any suspicion of a woman spending time alone with a man, people see it as a disgrace to her family. Even if a woman tried to date, it is very difficult to keep it a secret. In her article, “She Can Do No Wrong: Recent Failures in America’s Immigration Courts to Provide Women Asylum from Honor Crimes," Shira T. Shapiro states that, “In general worldwide, 58 percent of [victims of honor killings] are killed for being too Western and 42 percent for allegedly committing a sexual impropriety” (308). In the most extreme cases, “a woman may become an honor crime victim for seeking a divorce, adultery, premarital sexual relations, pregnancy out of wedlock, refusing to consent to sexual relations (including forced prostitution), not fulfilling the demands of husbands, fathers, brothers, or other male relatives, or even interrupting man-to-man conversations” (Shapiro 298). Once families find out about this violation, that is when honor killings will take place. These killings are done by the fathers, brothers, or uncles, of the women and they are considered as a way to protect the family. The killings are also a result of fear that other sisters will not have the opportunity to be married because of the mistakes of one sister. The mothers of these women greatly approve of these honor killings; they believe that it is what is best for the family. They believe that they are removing the “black mark” from the family by going through with these honor killings and it is just something that must be done. The fact that Jordanian families are willing to kill women because they have compromised the honor of their family shows exactly how important family honor is to them.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to have a family that is respected, but the fear that honor killings have instilled in these women is ridiculous. Women are taking extreme measures to get away from their families because they are in fear for their lives. These women do not even have a chance to plead their case, if there is even the slightest suspicion of wrong doing there is a good chance that they will be killed. In her article, “She Can Do No Wrong: Recent Failures in America’s Immigration Courts to Provide Women Asylum from Honor Crimes," Shira T. Shapiro notes, “In 2007, the U.S. State Department reported that twenty-five percent of honor crime victims in Jordan were killed after a mere suspicion of involvement in an illicit relationship and only fifteen percent were