A lot has been talked about changing names lately. An MP wants to change the name of so called “Honour Killing” ,and today we are talking about the discrimination ,or alleged discrimination if you have an Asian name.
Firstly changing the name of the brutal killings, that happen in certain cultures ,one the garland it is mostly girls, as they are for some mis guided logic are responsible for holding the family honour ,by marrying whoever it is that their parents have chosen.
Once reviewing the book called “Shame” by Jaswinder Sanghera ,I was astonished to learn the pressure young women were put under to conform to their parents wishes. And then I reviewed another book by a Muslim Pakistani girl Called Ferzana Riley, whose book “Un-broken Spirit” is an eye opener ,to the length families go to make their daughters conform to their own wishes.
Since then, and after writing about it on a website, quite a few girls got in touch with me. Intelligent and well educated girls, from quite well to do, allegedly educated Asian families , who were terrified of being taken to their parents homeland and be married off to someone they have never met. Some of them would give me the date of their visit and ask me to contact the police if I have heard from them after a certain date.
Now the proposal to change the name of “honour killing” takes away the special vigilance it takes to police/highlight such issues.
I have been involved with the Women’s refuge in my local area, of course there is domestic violence across all cultures. There are violent, drunk and stupid men in every culture who beat their wives, use emotional coercion and subject them to all kind of misery, and of course there is murder across all cultures.
But, and this is a big but, honour killings, or subjecting their daughters to violence and forcing them to marry someone of their choice, is really exclusive to certain cultures.
Mostly Asians, and mostly Muslim families are known to be too hung up on the so called “honour’. Though there have been many cases among the Hindu and Sikh families too, but the majority of killings and coercion has happened in the Muslim families. There were a few Turkish families , but nothing like the numbers which have happened in the Asian families.
The police have been reluctant for ages to intervene, as it was considered that forced marriage is a “cultural issue”, it took them years to acknowledge it as the crime it is.I have been on my county’s polices independent advisory group. I have tried my bit to educate them, passing on the books by Jaswinder and Ferzana ,to give them an insight into this so called “cultural” but vile practice.
Taking away the word honour will do nothing to improve the situation in any way at all, it is murder and coercion done in the name of honour ,by some cultures and that is how it should remain.
Calling a spade as they say…!