A mother burnt alive her 18-year-old daughter Zeenat Rafiq on Wednesday for marrying a man of her own choice in an area near General Hospital on Ferozepur Road, Lahore, Pakistan.
Parveen Rafiq, who confessed to having murdered her daughter for “bringing shame to the family”, was arrested at her home in a low-income neighbourhood on Mast Iqbal Road.
Last week 19-year-old Maria Sadaqat was tortured then burned alive for refusing a marriage proposal from a school principal’s son in Murree.
In April a young woman was strangled and then her body set ablaze because she helped a friend elope in Abbottabad, another case that sparked revulsion.
Byra Reddy, a resident of Tamatampalli under Gownipalli police limits, Karnataka, India, allegedly strangled his daughter Priya Reddy (17). He was angry with her for her love affair with 20-year-old Harish, belonging to Ganiga (backward class), and suspected that they were planning to elope on Sunday.
Statistics indicate that about thousand people, almost always women, are killed both in Pakistan and India in a year in the name of protecting honour of the family.
Love and marriage are supposed to be happy events. But for vast sections of human society, even in this “enlightened” 21st century it is the cause of violence and sorrow, because of the culture of not respecting the autonomy of an individual, especially that of women.
Same lack of respect for autonomy of a woman and an undue respect for the athletic prowess of a rapist can be seen in this infamous court judgement in the Stanford rape case.
Both, the “honor” killings in Asia and trivialising of rape in USA, belong to two ends of the same universal misogynist cultural spectrum. The troubling thing to my mind is most people are shocked by the former but few by the latter.