Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Honor Killings disguised as suicides

Whether it is to hide the statistics or to keep international eyes looking elsewhere, several honor killings in Turkey have been ruled "suicides." The story, covered in Time Europe, gives some details:

"As part of its bid to meet E.U. standards, Turkey last year approved legislation making "honor killings" — the practice of men killing their female relatives for perceived immoral behavior — punishable by life in prison. But a growing number of female suicides in southeastern Turkey, the country's poorest and most conservative region, this year has raised suspicion that women are now being forced to kill themselves to spare their male relatives a jail term. In the province of Batman (pop. 500,000) hospital records show there have been 31 attempted female suicides this year, already more than last year's total, and five women have died, although the total number of actual suicides is impossible to document."

As anyone who's read this blog will know, I've been keen on keeping the spotlight on this problem since I interviewed Deeyah. The one thing that I find fascinating is that the denial machine doesn't like a light shining in the direction of the problem. That denial machine works for many different reasons and for several different parties.

I've heard the arguments that the problem is overstated and that some are getting a bad rap. Wrong. It is a serious problem and it is spreading through Europe. Denial doesn't make the problem go away. But then again, some don't see it as a problem.

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