Understanding Honour Killings

What is an Honour Killing?
An honour killing is the homicide of a member of a family or social group by other members, due to the belief of the perpetrators that the victim has brought dishonor or shame upon the family or community. It is effectively considered to be "shame killing." 

Most countries look at it as a homicide from a legal point of view. The crime comprises the homicide of a family member because they have brought "shame" or "dishonour" to the family by their conduct, or has violated certain principles of their community or  religion, such as refusing to enter an arranged marriage, or being in a disapproved / forbidden relationship, or having sex outside marriage, or being a victim of rape, or even dressing in ways which are deemed inappropriate, and in some instances, even engaging in non-heterosexual relations or renouncing a faith. 

Generally, honour killings are collectivein the way they are carried out. Members of the nuclear or extended family act together, in planning and executing the act. In some instances, this is done through a "family council." Most honour killings are connected to the behaviour of the individual - and often centres around sexuality, marriage or refusal to marry. The key factor is that the conduct of the individual is seen as a shame / dishonour / insult to the honour of the family, and the stigma associated with losing the honour - this is especially so in communities that are tight knit, or place a premium on honour. As a result, the perpetrators themselves do not face any stigma for what they do - because their behaviour is perceived as justified, and even given respect as it is seen as standing up for honour. 

In the Media

Chennai, India