Anusha was 15 years old when her parents killed her. “There was a boy who came by on a motorcycle” her father said. “She turned to look at him twice. I told her before not to do that; it’s wrong. People talk about us.”
The mother added: “She said ‘I didn’t do it on purpose. I won’t look again.’ By then I had already thrown the acid. It was her destiny to die this way.”
That was in 2012. Since then hundreds of other women have met the same fate. According to the official figures of the Pakistani government, 933 people have been killed in Pakistan in honor killings over the past two years. There were reportedly 456 honor killings in 2013 and 477 in 2014.
Yet rights groups have differing figures. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan reported that 869 women were killed in the name of honor in 2013.
Similarly, although the government’s figures report that the highest number of honor killings are found in Sindh province, the Aururat Foundation found the highest number to be in Lahore. They also reported 487 honor killings for 2013.
The international organization Honor Based Violence Awareness network estimates roughly 1,000 women a year are killed in honor killings in Pakistan, but stressed that the number is an estimate and that the real figure is probably much higher due to the difficulty of collecting information.
Violence against women occurs across the world and regardless of culture, income bracket, religion or any other metric. Yet honor violence is a culturally specific form of gender violence the aim of which is to enforce, by violence, patriarchal concepts of honor intended to regulate female behavior.