Honor killings, where victims are murdered by their relatives due to a loss of honor or perceived loss of honor, has been around for centuries. While some might feel this is a recent phenomenon, it has been around for a while and has been passed down over the years. The history of honor killings go all the way back to the Qing Dynasty in China and Ancient Rome.
In Ancient Rome, a senior male or “pater familias” was allowed to kill a sexually active woman in the house. It could be a sexually active daughter or an adulterous wife depending on the situation. At the time, it was also common for the assumption of rape victims being associated with honor killings.
In the eyes of Ancient Romans, a woman who had been violated would not be able to restore her honor and therefore had to be killed.
While Ancient Romans didn’t exercise this right as often, it was still allowed, and that’s where honor killings began.
With the Qing Dynasty, father and husbands were given the right to kill a woman that had been promiscuous.
It was seen as a way to restore honor to the family name.
The rulers at the time didn’t care about the consequences that came with such actions and promoted them. It was also an extension of their treatment towards women in the kingdom. This was seen as a way of life, and it was something that had been given importance.
In fact, this is one of the reasons why the Qing Dynasty is spoken of as being one of the most ruthless of its time and perhaps overall.
What about the modern era?
While the Romans and Chinese are not focused on a perceived loss of honor, it has been passed on in the regions of the Middle East or Southeast Asia.
Honor killings are still seen on a regular basis in these areas and are now as heavily penalized as they are in the West. While changes are being made, most of the honor killings are still based around the same idea of loss honor by a woman of the household.
Many nations such as Pakistan continue to illustrate an inability to punish those who are accused of honor killing as things get brushed under the carpet in rural areas.
This is the history of honor killings and why it is prevalent in this day and age. Over time, a lot of work has been done in Western nations to help those who are trapped in such situations. Many countries are starting to move away from the concept of honor killing and have made amendments to their laws.
However, it’s important to note the most important step is the implementation of these laws where things are still not as focused as they should be.