A woman called Busaina Abu-Ganem was shot to death in Israel this week in an alleged “honor killing” case. She’s the tenth woman in the
horrible Abu-Ganem family to be murdered since the year 2000. The reason for this heinous act is yet unclear. what we do know is that she and her husband recently separated, leaving her with their six children. In an act of courage, Busaina decided to go back to school and get her diploma. a week after she completed her studies, she was murdered.
other women who have been brutally murdered by Abu-Ganem male family members include:
Rim Abu-Ganem who was murdered by her brothers for refusing to marry a man they were forcing her to wed. after they killed her they drowned her body.
Sherihan Abu-Ganem was 16 when her brother murdered her because of ‘jealousy’
Hamda Abu-Ganem was killed by her brothers who were indicted for the murder based on a female cousin’s testimony. this female cousin ‘disappeared’ after the trial, and it’s believed her body is buried in the West Bank, in an area outside the jurisdiction of Israeli authorities.
These women are victims twice over. first they were victims of a family that sees females as chattel with little value beyond that of a reproductive agent. secondly, they were victims of a discriminatory society that ‘others’ Muslim minorities and ultimately discourages the Jewish authorities from seeking justice.
gender based violence is pervasive. it’s important to remember that women are abused to the point of death everyday across the globe; that this isn’t tied to one religion, race of region. but regardless of location, violence against women and girls stems from very similar origins – unequal power relations. simply put – men use violence or the threat of violence to maintain their sense of power / control over women. this is not to say that all men are violent or oppose the equality of women. not at all. however, some men pick up on social and cultural cues that tell them women are not as valuable or as important as men, they can and should be hurt in order to maintain male authority, and that their existence is merely a reflection of a man’s achievement.
these are the kinds of messages that must be tackled through behavior change communications, awareness raising campaigns, legislative and policy reforms, community outreach and a strong coordinated and functional social protection system. in the absence of honest determination, leadership and political support, the root causes of ‘honor killings’ will never be fully addressed. and because this is seen so much as a ‘woman’s issue’ to be discussed about and exclaimed over by feminist organizations, but never to be acknowledged as a hard-line concern such as terrorism, security and border control, it will probably never rally enough interest and support to truly be eradicated. any progress we make, will always be incremental, and hard to measure. but the chance of stopping another senseless murder before it is carried out must motivate us to continue the good fight.
For more resources on gender based violence go to: http://www.endvawnow.org/
Support the International Violence Against Women Act (USA): http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/issues/women-s-rights/violence-against-women/international-violence-against-women-act
Take action on Global Orange Day: http://www.un.org/en/women/endviolence/orangeday.shtml
Support the White Ribbon Campaign in your country: http://www.whiteribbon.org.au/international
Check out some of the leading global initiatives to end violence against women: http://www.endvawnow.org/en/leading-initiatives