Rights groups seek to bring justice for Israeli women killed for family ‘honor’

World Today

An honor killing is the term used to describe a woman being murdered by her husband, brother or other family member for “dishonoring” the family. This is a crime that remains largely unpunished. It drives terrified women into the dark depths of secrecy, while the killers roam free. CCTV America’S Stephanie Freid reported the story from Ramlah, Israel.

Ten Israeli women from the same family were killed by their male relatives since 2000. They were killed for “staining” the family reputation by wanting to attend university, get a divorce, or not marrying a pre-arranged husband.

Israeli women being killed for bringing 'dishonor' to their familes

Israeli women being killed for bringing 'dishonor' to their familes

An honor killing is the term used to describe a woman being murdered by her husband, brother or other family member for "dishonoring" the family. This is a crime that remains largely unpunished. It drives terrified women into the dark depths of secrecy, while the killers roam free. CCTV America'S Stephanie Freid reported the story from Ramlah, Israel.

The most recent victim of the family was 36-year-old Bussaini Abu Ghnaim, who was six months pregnant. The widespread belief is that her brother killed her.

Many of these victims’ graves are unmarked. There’s no gravestone and no name except for what’s been etched in the concrete.

“Who calls it ‘honor killing’? Society. The police. The media,” said an anonymous relative of a victim. “They call it honor killing to keep the killings from being investigated by the police and to keep the true killers from being brought to justice.”

Justice has not been served for the victims. Of the ten women murdered since the year 2000, only two men have been sentenced and jailed.

Police said family members hinder investigations by covering up, hiding, and destroying evidence.

Women’s rights advocates said witness protection and aggressive investigative tactics are lacking because this is happening within Israel’s Arab community.

“The level of the services that they’ve got as second class residents of Israel is a major issue that we are trying to all the time provocate and bring it to the public sphere because nobody, I don’t feel that someone cares,” Samah Salaime Egbariva, a women’s rights activist in Ramlah, said.

Protests and demonstrations are a bold move for women in a community where speaking out can be silenced by a drive-by shooting. As social workers and criminal investigators attempt to raise awareness and bring the phenomenon of “honor killing” out of the closet, the reign of terror continues.

“I hope the dead women can hear me,” said a family member in hiding. “That they know I will never forget them. They live inside of me and I am speaking here on behalf of them to say, there is no such thing as honor killing. There is nothing honorable about this.”