July 20 2012
Carrie L. Lukas
I’m not usually a fan of federal studies. Typically, they seem designed to advance somoene’s political agenda, or to avoid much needed real reforms while well-paid government officials study an issue that’s already been studied to death.
Yet I was happy to see that Rep. Frank Wolf has been advancing legislation for a federal study of the prevalence of honor violence and to develop ways to combat the practice. Law enforcement is generally a state and local issue, but it seems appropriate that the federal government might consider a hard-to-attack problem that is spreading in our country and around the world.
In case you haven’t heard the term before, honor violence is violence committed against someone (primarily women) by those who believe that their behavior has brought shame to their family. It is most commonly scene among Muslim and Hindu families. Taken to the most extreme, it’s honor killing, a term that Americans have likely heard of, but associate with the Middle East and parts of Southeast Asia.
Yet The Gatestone Institute details that the practice is becoming commonplace in parts of Europe, and even in the U.S. You can read examples at the Gatestone Institute, if you have the stomach for it. Young girls brutal punished and tortured for resisting arranged marriages, talking to boys, or acting in ways considered “too Western” by their families. The normal law enforcement practices that deal with child abuse and domestic violence may be inadequate to address behaviors that are too often sanctioned by a broader community. This issue deserves serious attention so that we can help victims and also work to educate all communities that such mistreatment of women is never okay.
We hear a lot about the idea of a “War on Women” these days, but the term is usually used as a ridiculous political club meant to silence debate about policy topics. Yet there is a real War on Women in parts of the world and in communities in our country. Americans of all ideologies should be working together to fight against it.