Thursday, December 6, 2012

Toronto Star Op-Ed Piece: No "Honour Crimes" to See Here. Best Move Along Now

In an op-ed piece about why immigrant women are at risk of domestic violence, one finds this startling paragraph:
Recall the case of Rona Amir Mohammad, the first wife of Montreal’s Mohammad Shafia. She came to Canada on a visa as a domestic servant of the family and found herself trapped in an abusive marriage. With the renewal of the visa hanging over her head and at the mercy of the Shafia family, Rona was too afraid to flee. She ended up becoming one of the murder victims of Shafia, who along with his son drowned Rona and his own daughters.
In recalling the case, one recalls that Mohammad, wife number one in a polygamous marriage, was murdered along with three of the Shafia daugthers, a crime committed for reasons of "family honour" by the girls' father, brother and mother. That takes it out of the realm of "domestic violence" and puts it into the category of "honour crimes," which are very different, for reasons Phyllis Chesler, the go-to expert on the subject, outlines here. If the authors of this op-ed, a trio of women with expertise on the subject of immigrant women and the violence they face, aren't willing to factor in the "honour" component when relevant, how can they ever hope to help other Ronas and other Shafia sisters? (In recalling the case, one recalls that social service agencies were no help whatsoever, likely because they, too, refused to acknowledge that the complaints of the abused Shafia sisters were anything other than garden variety "domestic" issues.)

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