Last night, Qandeel Baloch, a Pakistani Internet Celebrity, was killed by her brother in what is being described as an honor killing.
The loose term “honor killing” was coined to describe the murder of a family member by other members due to the perpetrators’ belief that the victim has brought dishonor or shame upon the family name. Women fall victim to honor killing for many reasons, including the refusal to enter an arranged marriage, dressing in “inappropriate ways,” or simply because they were the victim of rape. Honor killings are usually committed by male family members against female members — men are rarely the victims of honor killings. Often times, minor children are selected to act as the killer so the adult can benefit in the most favorable way when legal charges are brought upon them. Many honor killings are reported as accidents and suicides, making it hard to record data measure statistics.
Baloch was strangled to death by her brother Waseem after they had argued over the family’s belief that she was destroying their name, while she was on Eid holidays at her parents home. Qandeel Baloch joins the thousands of women who have been killed by their own parents or siblings around the world.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif vowed that he would oversee a bill that would make honor killings allowed by extreme misinterpretation of Sharia Law completely illegal after the documentary by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, “A Girl in the River,” was screened in-front of government officials in the capitol earlier this year. “A Girl in the River” followed a young teenage girl who managed to survive an honor killing when she married a man she fell in love with, ultimately defying the arranged marriage her family ordered.
Women should not fear death at the hands of their own loved ones because they choose to live their lives differently than the beliefs and ideals of their family. The oppression and systematic killing of females is a worldwide epidemic that will not stop until ignorance and male dominance is abolished.