Twenty-two-year-old Amira went through a clandestine abortion to escape society’s retributions. She was in love with her boyfriend of five years and insisted that the pregnancy was an innocent mistake.
When she first realized that she was late on her menstruation cycle she felt helpless and did not know who to trust.
“I couldn’t ask any of my friends because they would judge me as a sinner and would never speak to me again; if they said anything to anyone and the word reached my family, I could have been killed,” she admitted.
Amira is referring to the practice of killing, a social and cultural agency by families “to wash away their disgrace.”
The families murder the woman who as “sinned” as a means of reclaiming the family’s honor and pride in society. Hundreds of cases go unreported and undocumented, the few ones that do get little attention from the media or judicial authorities. Men are seldom punished harshly for the murder they have committed.
A lot of the time families do not need or wait for any physical proof of the woman’s indiscretions, rumours alone are sometimes sufficient to cause an honour killing.