PALESTINIAN MOTHER MURDERS HER RAPED DAUGHTER TO SAVE THE "HONOR" OF HER FAMILY
This is what we really are up against -
Culture of death? Palestinian girl's murder highlights growing number of 'honor killings' By Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson
(KRT) ABU QASH — Rofayda Qaoud — raped by her brothers and impregnated — refused to commit suicide, her mother recalls, even after she bought the unwed teenager a razor with which to slit her wrists. So Amira Abu Hanhan Qaoud says she did what she believes any good Palestinian parent would: restored her family's"honor" through murder.
Armed with a plastic bag, razor and wooden stick, Qaoud entered her sleeping daughter's room last Jan. 27."Tonight you die, Rofayda," she told the girl, before wrapping the bag tightly around her head. Next, Qaoud sliced Rofayda's wrists, ignoring her muffled pleas of"No, mother, no!" After her daughter went limp, Qaoud struck her in the head with the stick.
Killing her sixth-born child took 20 minutes, Qaoud tells a visitor through a stream of tears and cigarettes that she smokes in rapid succession."She killed me before I killed her," says the 43-year-old mother of nine."I had to protect my children. This is the only way I could protect my family's honor."
The guilty brothers are in jail.
Qaoud's confessed crime, for which she must appear before a three-judge panel on Dec. 3, is one repeated almost weekly among Palestinians living in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Israel. Female virtue and virginity define a family's reputation in Arab cultures, so it's women who are punished if that reputation is perceived as sullied.
Victims' rights groups say the number of"honor crimes" appears to be climbing, but at the same time, getting little attention. Israelis and Palestinians are too busy with political and military issues to notice what they dismiss as domestic disputes, says Suad Abu-Dayyeh, who works for the Women's Center for Legal Aid and Counseling in East Jerusalem.
Palestinian police reported 31 cases in 2002 — up from five during the first half of 1999 - the last time such incidents were counted before the current Palestinian uprising began, according to the center's study.
But the number of killings is likely higher, given that Palestinian police investigate only crimes that have been reported, said Yousef Tarifi, the Ramallah prosecutor assigned to Qaoud's case. Shalhoub-Kevorkian says her past research showed the likely number to be 15 times higher than the number of reported cases. . . . .
And the media remains silent.
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