, along with “kidnappings, abductions, assaults [and] sexual offenses,” but he contends that such violence “is often hidden and unreported.” His office also prosecuted “more than 200 cases [in 2012] of honour-based violence.”
He estimates that immigrant families force or threaten to force 8,000 to 10,000 arranged marriages yearly, often to first cousins whom their daughters have never met. That was the case with Shafilea Ahmed. Concerned that she was becoming Westernized, her parents sedated her and sent her off to Pakistan to meet and marry a much older cousin to whom they had promised her. She drank bleach in an attempt to kill herself. She then returned home to more beatings. She was isolated and starved, When these tactics failed to subdue her, her parents suffocated her in front of her siblings (as an explicit threat to them) and dumped her body in the River Kent. The siblings had been sworn to secrecy and it was nine years before Shafilea’s younger sister, Alesha, who now lived in her own home, broke silence and told the police. In the Middle East and parts of Asia, such killings — when discovered and prosecuted — rarely involve much jail time. In the UK, finally willing to abandon political correctness and address honor violence, prosecutors seek Western-level penalties. Shafilea’s parents were sentenced to life in prison.
The problem of forced marriages of young girls persists. Mr. Afzal stated that a British government survey of school pupils revealed "hundreds and hundreds of young girls, and by that I mean 11, 12, 13-year-olds, who would just disappear off the school rolls."
A 2010 study by Phyllis Chesler in "The Middle East Quarterly" describes "Worldwide Trends in Honor Killings." Dr. Chesler is emerita professor of psychology and women’s studies at the City University of New York. She describes two types of honor killings with two classes of victims. The average age in the first group is seventeen; in the second group, it is thirty-six. Slightly more than half of the victims were daughters or sisters; one-quarter were wives or girlfriends of the killer. The remaining victims were mothers, aunts, cousins, nieces, uncles or non-relatives.
About two-thirds of victims are killed by their own family of origin. In North America, fathers were involved in the killing more than half the time, but were less so in Europe (one-third of the time), and even less often in the Muslim world. Worldwide, 42 percent of the killings were done by multiple perpetrators. Chesler also found that —
Additionally, a majority of women were murdered for being "too Western": In North America, that reason was given 91 percent of the time and in Western Europe, 71 percent of the time. This is less often the reason in the Muslim world (43 percent of the time).
Victims in their thirties are often killed by their husbands but, worldwide, the husband is aided 44 percent of the time by his or her family of origin. In the Muslim world, older women victims of honor killing are murdered by their family of origin almost two-thirds of the time, while in Europe the victim’s family participates in her killing one-third of the time.