There is no honour in killing

An honor killing or shame killing  is the murder of an individual, either an outsider or a member of a family, by someone seeking to protect what they see as the dignity and honour of their family.

Honor killings are often connected to religion, caste and other forms of hierarchical social stratification, or to sexuality, and those killed will often be more liberal than the murderer rather than genuinely “dishonourable”. Most often, it involves the murder of a woman or girl by male family members, due to the perpetrators’ belief that the victim has brought dishonor or shame upon the family name, reputation or prestige.

Honor killings are often associated with rural and tribal areas, but they occur in urban areas too.

Though both men and women commit and are victims of honor killings, in many communities conformity to moral standards implies different behavior for men and women, including stricter standards for chastity for women. In many families, the honor motive is used by men as a pretext to restrict the rights of women.

Although such crimes are widely suspected to be underreported, the United Nations Population Fund estimates that as many as 5,000 women are killed annually for reasons of honor. These crimes take place throughout the world and are not limited to one specific religion or faith. However, they have rather significantly and consistently occurred in various parts of the Middle East and South Asia, with nearly half of all honor killings occurring in India and Pakistan.


Although such crimes are widely suspected to be underreported, the United Nations Population Fund estimates that as many as 5,000 women are killed annually for reasons of honor. These crimes take place throughout the world and are not limited to one specific religion or faith. However, they have rather significantly and consistently occurred in various parts of the Middle East and South Asia, with nearly half of all honor killings occurring in India and Pakistan.null

In the 21st century, there was an increased international awareness of honor killing, however, some countries remained reluctant to take the necessary steps to effectively criminalize it. In the relatively uncommon event that a man was prosecuted for the killing, the subsequent trial would often focus on the woman’s alleged behaviour, rather than the violence committed against her. When a man was found guilty, the defendant could claim that the crime had been committed to restore sullied family honor and petition the court for a reduced sentence. In India, for example, the government enacted strict penalties for violence against women during the 1980s. However, honor killings based on intercaste and interreligious marriages continued to take place in rural areas, where they were largely unreported to police because of direct or indirect support among village residents. Such murders were often ruled as accidents when reported. A woman beaten, burned, strangled, shot, or stabbed to death could be ruled a suicide, even if there were multiple wounds and there was no possibility the woman could have killed herself.