12-01-05 5:31 PMEGYPT: Circumventing honour killings - TrustLawPage 2 of 5http://www.trust.org/trustlaw/news/egypt-circumventing-honour-killings
“to wash away their disgrace.”The families murder the woman who as “sinned” as a means of reclaiming thefamily’s honor and pride in society. Hundreds of cases go unreported andundocumented, the few ones that do get little attention from the media or judicialauthorities. Men are seldom punished harshly for the murder they have committed.A lot of the time families do not need or wait for any physical proof of the woman’sindiscretions, rumours alone are sometimes sufficient to cause an honour killing.In September, two brothers along with their uncle were accused of murdering theirsister after hearing rumours about her. The three men had dragged the girl alongwith her three year old child to an isolated area and then strangled her with a headscarf in front of her baby. Police said that they stabbed her in the chest and thestomach with a knife to make sure she was dead. Later that night, they dumped the body in the sewer system where it was found and taken to the coroner’s office.The deceased, Karima Metawe, 20, was married to a butcher who works in Libya. Her brother and uncle alleged they had heard rumours that she left the house to go out,while leaving her child behind. Therefore, they took her life to ‘restore’ their family’shonor.Amira doesn’t know Karima, but she knows that the odds are against her if word gotout about her pregnancy.With no one to seek advice from, she turned to her boyfriend, who tracked down adoctor’s phone number from a friend who had faced a similar situation.“Men are lucky that they are not judged by each other,” Amira commented on thelarger support system that grants men a more privileged societal position in Egypt.Despite all the social and moral ostracism that Egyptian women go through whenfaced with the question of abortion, a study by Huntington in 1998 found that theinduced abortion rate in Egypt is is 14.8 per 100 pregnancies, a staggeringly highnumber. Compared to the United States – where approximately two percent of women aged 15-54 have an abortion- Egypt’s abortion rates are seven times higher.Amira had to wear a fake gold wedding ring around her finger and make up a storyof how her “husband” and she couldn’t afford to raise a child at that point in time.