WARNING:   Graphic Images

Incest, the least reported form of sexual abuse, exists worldwide.  Even when incest is disclosed to other family members, a family may want to keep the abuse secret from society at large, in the name of so called “honor”.  There can, also, be governmental reluctance to investigate matters considered of a highly personal nature.

This leaves victims without recourse.

Pakistan – Human Rights Violations

Pakistan is just one country where these factors come into play [1].  The UN estimates that 36% of girls and 29% of boys in Pakistan experience sexual abuse.  An estimated 90% of street children have been sexually abused [2].

The situation is complicated by the fact that women have so little power over their own lives, and so few options other than staying in an abusive marriage.  Mothers are, in effect, as trapped as their children.

Despite this (or because of it), both mothers and fathers have been known to participate in honor killings.

Honor Killings

As long ago as 1989, Zein and Maria Isa, a Pakistani couple living in St. Louis, jointly murdered their daughter, a high school senior, for taking a part-time job at Wendy’s, and dating a boy of whom they did not approve [3].  Though the couple claimed Tina had attacked them, this was proven untrue when it was revealed the murder had been recorded.  Zein Isa had been under surveillance as a possible terrorist, and a listening device installed in the couple’s home.

Little has changed in Pakistan.  Earlier this month, 18 y.o. Zeenat Rafique was tied to a bed, then set afire by her mother and brother [4].  Zeenat’s crime was that she had married without her family’s permission.

Last month, a 15-member Pakistani tribal council directed that the 16 y.o. girl who had helped another couple elope, also, be burned to death.  The killing was punishment for what the council viewed as “irreparable damage to the village’s reputation” [5].

According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan over 500 such honor killings occurred last year.

Honor is variously defined as respect, recognition, and esteem.  Nothing described here is remotely deserving of respect, recognition, or esteem.

Another Viewpoint

In the Judeo-Christian view, honor is God’s alone (1 Chron. 29: 11; 1 Tim. 1: 17; Rev. 5: 13).  We honor God by leading godly lives, committed to His service (Col. 3: 17).

None of us, therefore, has any reason to be puffed up.  “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5: 5).  We are, in fact, instructed to honor “all people” (1 Peter 2: 17) and others above ourselves (Rom. 12: 10).

One who honors the world, and the things of the world, makes himself an enemy of God’s (James 4: 4).   Worldly honor is, in any case, fleeting (Eccles. 1: 14).

The contrast could not be more striking.

[1]  Public Radio International (PRI), “Pakistani children face high rates of incest, receive little support from family, state”, 4/18/12, http://www.pri.org/stories/2012-04-18/pakistani-children-face-high-rates-incest-receive-little-support-family-state.

[2]  YouTube, “Pakistan’s Hidden Shame” (Full Documentary), 9/3/15, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNxQhWXbDdM.

[3]  NY Daily News, “Justice Story:  ‘Die, my daughter, die!’  An old world honor killing in St. Louis” by David Krajicek, 11/10/13, http://www.nydailynews.com/news/justice-story/justice-story-honor-killing-article-1.1510125.

[4]  CNN, “Pakistani teen was still breathing when set on fire, report says” by Adeel Raja, Sophia Safi, and Holly Yan, 6/9/16, http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/08/middleeast/mother-sets-pakistani-woman-on-fire-police-say/index.html.

[5]  Business Insider, “A 16-year-old-girl was burned alive by a tribal council in Pakistan for helping a young couple elope” by Jibran Ahmed (Reuters), 5/5/16, http://www.businessinsider.com/honor-killing-in-pakistan-2016-5.



Filed under Abuse of Power, Child Abuse, Community, Emotional Abuse, Justice, Law, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Violence Against Women

21 responses to “Honor

  1. Beyond heartbreaking, it can kill the soul–that it is so widespread…and under-reported for reasons you mention, is disturbing and shakes me to the core. I pray that God wraps His arms around each one.

    • This is what I think of when anyone claims mankind has “advanced” over the centuries. I do not like to distress readers, but I believe someone must bear witness to evil.

      • Yes, evil is surely advancing, from my observations…and you’re right, someone has to speak, lest everyone keep turning away from ugly truth. Which prompts me to ask you a question, if you don’t mind: regarding the verse (wherever it is) about “whatever is lovely…think on these things”–do you think some Christians use that as an excuse to act oblivious, or choose not to discuss topics such as we’ve been commenting about? I’ve had a number of very devout friends who, whenever I brought up a “sensitive” topic, were not just uncomfortable–but seemed to spiritualize the changing of topics to something lovely and uplifting. I found it disconcerting, and sensed there was a subtle criticism implied. Any added thoughts?

      • I am not a theologian. I do not, however, think that the Apostle Paul was instructing Christians to avoiding dealing with difficult topics at Philippians 4:8. He was encouraging us not to lose heart. If we dwell solely on the evil in the world, it is all to easy to lose sight of the good and underestimate the power of God.

      • Wonderfully helpful reply–thanks, Anna!

  2. Monochrome nightmares

    Pakistan should hang its head in utter shame.
    Absolutely Barbaric.

  3. The contrast is striking, Anna. Thank you for willingness to address this pretty uncomfortable thing.

  4. As I read your post again I was struck anew by the fact that the mothers of abused children are more often than not as trapped as their children–somehow this has to change. I remember at a very young age telling my mom something which should have prompted immediate questions and action on her part–it didn’t. It was my biological dad who molested both my brother and I, and conveniently died very soon; but as I grew up with my mom (and step-dad), I believe that I became a victim of “learned helplessness”–modeling her behavior–as well as other forms of abuse. If a mother doesn’t have power, how can children be expected to?

    God bless your week!

    • Disclosure is a complex issue, highly charged emotionally. Many children feel betrayed when the non-abusive parent does not undertake rescue. My own view is that an adult always has more power than a child (whether to violate or rescue the child). But, as you say, we learn the behavior modeled for us. Chances are that the women who are today’s domestic violence victims — who could not find the strength to rescue their children — saw their own mothers and grandmothers victimized. The cycle of abuse is powerful. God bless you, too, Shadeau! ❤

  5. Reblogged this on lovehappinessandpeace and commented:
    Hearty Kudos to Anna, the Tireless Crusader against this Abominable Issue, and for that who have expressed support through their comments.
    Yes, Sexual Abuse, and that too Child Molestation, is Heinous thing.
    And it is Absolutely Disgusting that some peoples and societies, instead of Sympathizing and Rendering Support to the Victim, choose to Victimize the Same further.
    And it is Sad that the Parents of the Abused choose to Shield, Hide and at times even Kill the victims, as they prefer that to the Perennial (Verbal) Abuse the Victim and the Family will have to face.

    On the other hand, evil is NOT winning. Consider. Though a Great many such incidents are happening, there is also a Growing Outcry.
    Though society is chock full of police who will not even bother to file crime reports, nor will try to find the culprits, to judges who care the LEAST to what is happening to the citizen, the Media, Individuals, and Powerful Individuals at that, and Organizations are taking up the Fight.
    I go to the Extent of recommending the Withdrawal of Security to politicians, judges and officials, so that they may experience what is Sexual Abuse, being the Victim of Acid Throwing, Extreme Poverty, and such.
    Let us not just Pray, but WORK for a Better World.

  6. Thank You for Your Tireless Fight, my Dear Anna! …The subject is Too poignant to give a ‘like,’ which Your writing deserves.

    And I liked Your reply to the question of ‘Lovely thoughts.’ The Christian leaders and preachers Are guilty in not making things clear. They Are behaving like the Blind.

    Hearty Regards. One with You in the Fight. Strength and Peace to You, my Friend. Affectionate Regards. 🙂

  7. Dermott Hayes

    The more we hold life’s dark deeds up to the light, the greater the chance there is of public exposure and outcry. Well done.

  8. Dermott Hayes

    No, Anna, thank you

  9. Just yesterday I read about the murder of 19 young girls at the hands of ISIS. These girls refused to become sex slaves and for that were placed in a cage and burned alive.Just when I think nothing can shock me…this.

    The heart of man that has distanced itself from the Creator is an unimaginable thing of evil that knows no bounds to the depths to which it will descend.

    Thank you Anna,yours is a voice crying in the wilderness,one that I pray God will use to reveal truth on a level beyond anything you can imagine.

    • I can do so very little, Ron. That weighs heavily on me. Like you, I weep over the condition of the world. God, too, I think weeps. Thank you for being such a good and stalwart friend.

  10. Helen e rechner short

    What a horrible thing these children had to endure . Where is the conscience of these horrible people who perform these horrendous acts but they do not have any at all I am sure.

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