Residents from Hasakah Province in northeastern Syria denounce honour killings and advocate awareness of their negative consequences.
The issue of honour killings has blighted societies across the Middle East and it remains a widespread problem today too. The tradition normally dictates that if a girl or woman blemishes the honour of a family (either through adultery or any other similar act deemed to be a crime) then it is customary for that girl or woman to be killed on the grounds of dishonoring the name of her relatives or community.
Political changes in the north of Syria have opened up the space for women’s issues to be discussed in a more open manner and traditions that are viewed as demeaning the position of women in society are being challenged.
Local residents in Hasakah were asked what they think about honour killings in Syria. One interviewee believes that the tradition is harmful for both men and women. For men, it creates added pressure as they are required to track the actions of women and be wary of their every move. This may have negative psychological consequences for the men due to the continuous judgment they may impose on women’s actions. As for women, they are consistently required to live up to the high expectations imposed by society and any “wrong move” may lead to serious consequences, which, again, leads to aggravated psychological pressure.
One woman believes that children are also major victims of this tradition as they may lose their mother or are simply exposed to the violent nature of this tradition.
The law has been ineffective with regards to honour killings, which have been permitted on the grounds that it is part of the traditions of sectors of Syrian society. The political authorities in the north of the country have begun to tackle several women’s issues and are raising awareness of some of the harmful effects that this mentality may have on society.