Modern Day Honor Crimes

1793 Words 8 Pages
Honor killings and offenses are often thought to be an outlandish crime exclusive to only the currently tumultuous Middle East and surrounding areas, while in actuality, this is far from the case. An honor killing is typically defined as “a killing of a relative, especially a girl or woman, who is perceived to have brought dishonor to the family” . This dishonor is generally related to things regarding premarital relationships, such as premarital sex, or other forbidden acts that a community might find “shameful”. While this definition may fit into the culture of the Middle East, which is predominantly a patriarchal society which enforces strict rules and codes on their women, Hayes brings to light an interesting point regarding why the definition …show more content…
Though they are often not thought of as honor crimes, the lynchings which dominated the South in the nineteenth century fit into the definition of an honor crime. Many of these lynchings that occurred were a form of vigilante justice, meaning that they were motivated by the nonexistence of a law or the failing of a certain law. But what is most interesting about these lynchings was the motivation to commit them. They were often done in retaliation to forms of unacceptable social behavior. Some of the notable behaviors deemed reprehensible at the time involved the integration of black Americans with white Americans, such as interracial relationships. Relationships between black men and white women were seen with disgust, and often with extreme hostility and anger. Often times, the black counterpart was blamed for the relationship, with cited reasons such as coercion or some other form of a forced relationship. While this was often wildly inaccurate, it gave the mob a reason to retaliate. They saw a woman in distress who had to have been forced against her will. One could easily argue that the say the relationship as dishonorable, and that the only way to restore the woman’s honor was to ensure that the relationship would never be able to happen again. The jump to calling these types of lynchings an honor crime …show more content…
In an almost exposé piece done by Susanne J. Prochazka entitled “There Is No Honor in Honor Killings: Why Women at Risk for Defying Sociosexual Norms Must Be Considered a ‘Particular Social Group’ Under Asylum Law”, she explores the complete apathy that the US asylum laws have towards endangered women. Though at the moment the US is having a general push from accepting asylum immigrants (the number has decreased by over 70,000 immigrants, leaving it around 75,000 immigrants for 2015), the number of honor killing victims is a very small number, topping out at around 5,000 per year, when compared to the total asylum immigrants. What is intriguing in the case of Mehriban Yaylacicegi was not the fact that she did not qualify for asylum under the accepted definition. Yaylacicegi was able to prove, along with the help of experts, that being pushed back to Turkey would result in her death. This fact was accepted by the Board of Immigration Affairs , yet she was turned away due to the fact that she “failed to prove she was a member of a particular social group to which asylum is extended” . She was therefore sent back to her country, where she was presumably killed. According to Prochazka, cases like these are frequent. Rather than adjust the social groups to fit the needs of the people of

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