Honor killings or shame killings are exacted in a bid to regain family honor after a member of the family has committed an act which brings shame to the family, such as homosexuality, adultery, violating religious principles or renouncing a faith. The four main types of honor violence are FGM, forced marriage, domestic violence, and killings. Killing is the most extreme punishment.
The majority of honor killings are carried out in the Islamic regions of the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. However, there are documented cases of honor violence from people belonging to all of the major world religions.
Woman account for 93% of all victims of honor killings and the average age of victims is 23. These statistics are based on available worldwide data reported from English-speaking media organizations. Many shame killings around the world go unreported, so statistics are often severe underestimates. It is estimated that there are around 5000 honor killings globally each year. Of that 5000, 1000 occur in India and 1000 occur in Pakistan. The honor based violence awareness network has a good breakdown of victims by region.
The methods used to carry out shame killings can be very brutal and torturous. Methods include burning, stabbing, beating, beheading, hanging, stoning, shooting, lethal acid attacks, throat slashing, and strangulation. Many times, the homicides are carried out in public in front of crowds to warn other members of the community about the consequences if they engage in any illicit behavior. Often, young children are chosen to be the perpetrators, as their families know they are more likely to be looked at favorably in the eyes of the law.
Specific triggers for honor killings vary depending on local culture. Some of the most common triggers include being a victim of rape, seeking a divorce, refusal to partake in an arranged marriage and homosexuality. In some cases, forced suicide can be seen as an acceptable substitute punishment. The family force the victim to commit suicide to avoid more brutal public execution punishments.
Many people might like to believe that honor killings do not happen in the USA, but the DOJ released a report in 2014 estimating that 23 to 27 incidents take place in the country every year. However, there is no reliable data summary of such killings in North America. This is due to the fact that following many homicides in the US, necessary information is often not collected because of inadequate tracking systems.
Honor killing has been outlawed in most countries around the world. If you are found guilty, you will need to present a proper defense to the judge.