Women losing their lives due to gender-targeted crimes is well known to all of us. Gender-targeted crimes go from honor killings, to Domestic Violence, including Marital rape, and of course, Female Genital Mutilation. Gender-targeted crimes are a global problem that affects all societies around the globe in a higher or lower way. These crimes are deeply inserted into every patriarchal society, East or West, North or South.
The global scale of Gender-targeted crimes
Last year in Pakistan over a thousand women were killed due to the so called “honor killings”, according to the Pakistan HRC. The causes of such crimes included domestic violence and disputes, unfaithfulness and “exercising the right of choice in marriage” (http:/https://www.rt.com/news/345082-pakistan-murder-burnt-alive/).
Unfortunately most people in the West think that gender-targeted crimes do not occur in the so called “developed world”. We believe that this does not happen in “our world” and that it isn’t really “our” problem. We wrongly assume gender-targeted crimes only occur in the East and South of the globe, of the “developing countries”. However, this is not just a problem of the East, the Other, the developing countries or the non secular ones. Theoretically secular countries such as the US, have extremely high numbers of gender-targeted crimes, with 3 women being killed daily by a former or current partner. The UK counted over 125 dead women in 2015, as a result of gender-targeted crimes. Perhaps in these cases marriage rejection is not the cause but domestic disputes and unfaithfulness or jealousy are definitely key causes of gender-targeted crimes.
I believe it is pointless to discuss that women should never be harmed in anyway for turning down a marriage proposal or for expressing herself freely and contradicting her husband, or for being unfaithful to him. However, women are being killed daily due to unfaithfulness, domestic disputes or simply jealousy.
There is hope
The fact that women are brave enough to turn down a proposal, or to escape with nothing after an episode of domestic violence, even knowing they will have to fear unimaginable consequences, show their willingness to be free and make their own choices. Women are pressurizing society as a whole, and they are smoothing the way for the generations to come.
I believe his is a great step. Women across the globe have been and still are continuously rejecting the idea of being forced into something they have not chosen, regardless of who is forcing them into it, or the motives why this is happening –those being culture, religion, family, education and a long etc-. How many women can be buried before these practices become not only illegal but also socially unacceptable? Not many.
We should praise all women who have the courage to report such crimes to the police, to speak about them with their friends and family, to reject a marriage proposal even if they know they can lose their lives… For things to change in any patriarchal society, unfortunately, women -and men- who are courageous enough to even lose their lives are necessary. They are planting the seeds for the trees to come.
Hopefully no more lives will be lost in order to achieve freedom and equality.