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#JulieMann: In the Name of Honour

A patriarchal construct first used to protect property, possessions and community status, honour has evolved into a powerful system of social control. It is manipulative, secretive, can be violent, and may also be deadly. According to Amnesty International, ‘The regime of honour is unforgiving.’ Applied to familial and sexual roles dictated by tradition, the system of honour typically, though not always, affects women. Lawyer and women’s advocate Hina Jilani asserts: ‘It is not about religion or culture, it is about controlling… especially girls and women, who grow up with the constant threat of bringing shame on the family.

Dawn will come. The girls will ask: ‘Where is she?’
The beast of blood will reply: ‘We killed her. That stain, on our foreheads,
we have washed it away.’—from Wash Away Shame by Nazik Al-Mala’ika

What might bring dishonour upon a family? Behaviours as innocuous as texting, wearing make-up or Western-style clothes can be considered shameful; more significant contraventions may include defying parents in choosing friends, a career path, or relationship partners. Because the concept of honour is bound to a woman’s sexuality, sexual activity, sexual orientation, adultery, sexual abuse and even rape are considered violations; a loss of ‘purity,’ whether real or merely perceived, reflects negatively on a family.

In the Name of Honour, Julie Mann, Honour killings, Jaswinder Sidhu, Jassi Singh, Nazir Afzal, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Banaz: A Love Story, Deeyah Khan, Banaz Mahmod Shahrzad Mojab, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness, Oscar, Emmy, Film, featured, yvr blogger, entrepreneur, yvr fashion, follow your dreams, fashion, women in business, blogger, fblogger, blush, beauty products, skincare, travel, lifestyle, health and wellness, Vancouver, Victoria, yvr, vancity, westcoast, dominique hanke, retail shopping

In March, Canada’s Supreme Court heard a case about an honour-related killing that after 16 years remains unresolved. When Jaswinder (Jassi Singh) Sidhu, a Canadian citizen born in Vancouver, married a man her family didn’t approve of, she ended up dead on a roadside in India. She had tried desperately to warn friends and police she was in danger. Her mother and uncle have been implicated in her death, but conflict around extradition has stalled the final outcome.
In the Name of Honour, Julie Mann, Honour killings, Jaswinder Sidhu, Jassi Singh, Nazir Afzal, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Banaz: A Love Story, Deeyah Khan, Banaz Mahmod Shahrzad Mojab, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness, Oscar, Emmy, Film, featured, yvr blogger, entrepreneur, yvr fashion, follow your dreams, fashion, women in business, blogger, fblogger, blush, beauty products, skincare, travel, lifestyle, health and wellness, Vancouver, Victoria, yvr, vancity, westcoast, dominique hanke, retail shopping

Jaswinder Sidhu | www.alchetron.com

The UN estimates that 5,000 to 10,000 women die each year in honour killings, however advocates and rights groups believe the value greatly underestimates actual numbers.  Between 2010 and 2014, the UK recorded 11,744 non-lethal incidents of honour crime. In fact, violence related to honour is thriving within diasporic immigrant communities in the West. An RCMP brief indicates that ‘honour-based violence is a common, yet largely invisible, crime in Canada.’ The Canadian government makes clear its opposition in citizenship literature, calling honour-motivated crimes ‘barbaric cultural practices.’

Unlike acts of domestic violence, honour-based violence is related to the collective family unit. According to activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, ‘Honour violence is communally sanctioned.’ UK specialist Nazir Afzal calls honour violence an ‘organized crime,’ one that is typically premeditated and pre-planned. There are often multiple perpetrators involved, most often from within the immediate and extended family. Whereas domestic violence is stigmatized, Afzal says ‘honour violence is supported,’ often by a surrounding silence and lack of willingness to intervene.

In the Name of Honour, Julie Mann, Honour killings, Jaswinder Sidhu, Jassi Singh, Nazir Afzal, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Banaz: A Love Story, Deeyah Khan, Banaz Mahmod Shahrzad Mojab, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness, Oscar, Emmy, Film, featured, yvr blogger, entrepreneur, yvr fashion, follow your dreams, fashion, women in business, blogger, fblogger, blush, beauty products, skincare, travel, lifestyle, health and wellness, Vancouver, Victoria, yvr, vancity, westcoast, dominique hanke, retail shopping
In Banaz: A Love Story, Peabody and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Deeyah Khan chronicles events leading to the violent death of Banaz Mahmod— a young woman murdered by her family for building a new life after an abusive arranged marriage, a young woman killed with the UK Kurdish community’s agreement, assistance, and afterward, silence. University of Toronto Professor Shahrzad Mojab explained at the 2011 Shafia murder trial in Ontario—in which Mohammad Shafia, his wife, and son were found guilty of murdering his three daughters and first wife — that the bloodshed in honour killings is a symbolic way of ‘purifying the name of the family.’ In the name of honour, victims have been shot, stoned, burned, buried alive, strangled, smothered and stabbed. Perpetrators believe they are justified in the conduct, bound by a moral or ethical duty, and are less concerned with the punitive implications of their actions than they are with restoring their standing in the eyes of the community.
In the Name of Honour, Julie Mann, Honour killings, Jaswinder Sidhu, Jassi Singh, Nazir Afzal, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Banaz: A Love Story, Deeyah Khan, Banaz Mahmod Shahrzad Mojab, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness, Oscar, Emmy, Film, featured, yvr blogger, entrepreneur, yvr fashion, follow your dreams, fashion, women in business, blogger, fblogger, blush, beauty products, skincare, travel, lifestyle, health and wellness, Vancouver, Victoria, yvr, vancity, westcoast, dominique hanke, retail shopping

Oscar Winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy | Bina Khan | IMDB

In 2016, Pakistani-Canadian filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy won her second Academy Award for A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness, a documentary that details the harrowing tale of Saba, a young Pakistani woman who, after being shot and thrown by her father and uncle into a river to drown, manages to survive and decides to make her ordeal public. In the end, however, in what seems an almost unimaginable outcome, Saba bows to familial and societal pressure, legally ‘forgiving’ the crimes against her, persuaded by elders that, ‘You can’t go against your own family.’

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