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WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE?
Magpie is a former journalist, attempted historian [No, you can't ask how her thesis is going], and full-time corvid of the lesbian persuasion. She keeps herself in birdseed by writing those bad computer manuals that you toss out without bothering to read them. She also blogs too much when she's not on deadline, both here and at Pacific Views.

Magpie roosts in Portland, Oregon, where she annoys her housemates (as well as her cats Medea, Whiskers, and Jane Doe) by attempting to play Irish music on the fiddle and concertina.

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Friday, May 26, 2006

When Turkey increased the legal penalty for 'honor killings' ...

I don't think they were expecting the killings to be replaced by 'honor suicides.'

From a Reuters story:

Rising suicides among women in the mainly Kurdish southeast has prompted the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, Yakin Erturk, to visit the region, where rights activists say families are forcing young women into suicide because the government has clamped down on so-called "honor killings".

Hanging, poisoning and shooting are the most common methods, they say.

Turkey, which started European Union entry talks last year, has toughened legislation on honor killings, carried out against women seen to have tainted the family's name, for example by having a child outside marriage or merely by being the subject of rumor.

Men, previously treated leniently by judges who considered "honor" a mitigating factor in murder, now face life sentences under a new penal code passed last year. Activists say that has made families put pressure on the woman in question to kill herself to spare the male relative from jail.

From a story in the UK Independent:
The practice of honour killings in Turkey has received widespread attention, and some observers fear that changes to the penal code passed last year have had the unintended consequence of channelling domestic violence into less direct forms.

Women's groups have claimed that in some instances women have been locked in a room with a knife and a gun and told by relatives to end their lives.

[UN special rapporteur] Erturk expressed her horror at the reported number of deaths but said there was no hard evidence to support speculation concerning forced suicides....

While Turkey has one of the lowest suicide rates in the world, some areas of the country are registering higher numbers of women than men taking their lives. "This trend is the reverse of what we've found in the rest of the world and is a great concern," said Ms Erturk. "At this stage I've got more questions than answers."

Other observers have blamed the suicides on despair among young women forced to live severely restricted lives. Leyla Pervizat, a women's rights researcher in Istanbul, warned against blaming a change in the law for the unexplained deaths and cautioned the media against looking for easy answers.

"I'm not surprised this is happening," she said. Turkey is in danger of following the path of Pakistan, Ms Pervizat added, where intense media interest in honour killings was making male-dominated communities find other ways to punish or control women.

"They're going to kill women one way or another," she said.

Thanks to Vanessa at Feministing for the pointer to the Reuter story.

| | Posted by Magpie at 5:49 PM | Get permalink




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