Saturday, June 14, 2014

A Father Burned His 13-Year-Old Daughter to Death for Walking Home With a Boy

A man in Tunisia has been accused of burning his 13-year-old daughter to death after she walked home from school with a boy in her class.

The girl, a middle school student named Aya, spent nine days in the hospital before succumbing to her fourth-degree burns on June 7th.

Her father has since been arrested.

Tunisia Live reports that her murder is believed to be an “honor crime” — a killing made when a relative is perceived to have brought shame to the family.

Though common in Pakistan and Syria, the website reports that honor killings are “almost unheard of” in modern-day Tunisia.

A social media movement in the country has launched in response to the killing, with activists calling for greater news coverage of the incident.

“I cannot believe that this case could fall into oblivion,” said one blogger in a Facebook post, translated from French into English by Tunisia Live. “What happened is an unacceptable crime. Further, the reactions of some people who justify this barbaric act reflect the degree of ignorance that prevails in the country.”

Local supporters have planned a march in solidarity for Aya on June 19th. The event page states that her murder is symbolic of a society that “continues to demonize the female gender.”

That statement isn’t far from the truth. Honor killings are an atrocity that, more often than not, are committed against women. Even in contemporary society, these honor crimes still occur regularly.

One study found that the attacks have actually risen over a 20-year period from 1989 to 2009, either signifying a real increase in killings or a greater willingness to report them.

In order to make sure murders like Aya’s don’t keep happening, things need to change.

In 2013, there was a 226-page study published on the world’s Muslim population. Researchers surveyed people from 23 countries, and those from Afghanistan and Iraq were most in support of honor killings.

In fact, people from nine out of the 23 countries approved of honor killings. That means the majority of Muslim communities in nine nations believe it’s okay to murder your own family member.

Still, we can’t place the blame on the Muslim community. People of all backgrounds around the world are guilty of violence against women.

It’s a terrible violation of human rights, but sadly, many women who fall victim to these killings aren’t aware of their own rights.

In Afghanistan alone, 90 percent of women aged 15-49 believe it is okay for their husbands to beat them under certain circumstances. The statistics are similar in other countries where these honor killings occur.

To end these horrific occurrences, we need to educate women about the power they actually have — and to educate men about the importance of women’s rights.

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