The word Honor stands for fame, reputation and credit. However, in certain societies unfortunately, honor usually comes down to a desire to control the freedom and sexuality of female members of the family. Or as a crude Arabic expression states: “a man’s honour lies between the legs of a woman.”Clearly, “women are seen as the property of men and they have to be obedient and passive,” and the maintenance of the family’s honor is considered the woman’s responsibility.

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Nilanjana, It is a pleasure to have you as a member of our community and I look forward to reading more of your posts. This is a hot issue given the recent spate of killings in the urban areas, in contrast to the rural communities where this more often occurs. The sense of "honour" is so deeply entrenched in the culture that it will take active and stringent laws to protect against kinship, religion-based, and caste-based violence, and appropriate action against local leaders who endorse or tolerate these crimes. Without the threat of prosecution, the practice will continue as at the local level, politicians and officials have been sympathetic to village councils' edicts, implicitly supporting the violence.

This turning a "blind eye" has perpetuated the violence against young women, effectively endorsing murder. A strong message needs to be sent to stop issuing edicts on marriages condemning couples for marrying outside their caste or religion. At present, little or no concern is shown for the women at risk and the women seldom are able to pursue complaints or seek protection from those actually threatening their life and security, as the very people they turn to, i.e. the police or community leaders, support their punishment. Murder is murder, and nothing should prevail over a women's basic right to live freely.

All "honor" killings should be investigated without bowing to political or other pressure from local leaders, and all those implicit in the violence, including the police, should be prosecuted. Only with accountability and strong enforcement of the laws, can we break this cycle of violence against women. Janice Director of Global Programs, World Pulse