Inside an Honor Killing: A Father and a Daughter Tell Their Story

Author: Lene Wold
224 pages

Honor killings are committed against a family member who is deemed to
have acted socially or culturally unacceptably, and thus is seen to
bringing dishonor to the family. Honor killing most of time is carried out
by male relatives, and the victim is most of the time a woman; 93 percent
of honor killing victims are women. According to the United
Nations, every year more than 5,000 women and girls are killed by their
close mail relatives to restore family’s honor.
Lene Wold, an investigative journalist, spent more than five years in
Jordan, visiting many people and places, speaking with the victims and
the killers, including a man who murdered his mother and daughter and

attempted to kill his other daughter, trying to understand these violent
acts.
In her book, Inside an Honor Killing, A Father and a Daughter Tell
Their Story, Lene Wold shares what she learned and the story of honor
killing from the victim’s as well as the perpetrator’s perspective.

Excerpts from: “Inside an Honor Killing: A Father and a Daughter Tell
Their Story” By Lene Wold:
“I searched through legal documents and news archives for stories about
honor killings between 1995 and 2014, and ended up making a list of
139 names. There were 139 women who had been shot and killed,
strangled with electrical wires, burned to death, beheaded with an ax,
stoned to death, run over, or forced to drink poison—for reasons such as
rape, immoral behavior, infidelity, wearing makeup, or simply coming
home too late.”

“The stories were shocking, but I quickly came to understand that I
wouldn’t find answers to my questions among the victims—for it is only
the perpetrator who can explain how you justify an honor killing. Only a
father who has killed his own child knows what drove him to do it. Only a
brother, a mother, or a sister who played a part in taking the life of one of
their own family members knows what thoughts you have in the
aftermath. So I decided to go to the neighborhoods where these women
had grown up. I wanted to find the siblings, fathers, and mothers who
had taken their lives so that I could ask them why.”

“I have never been so angry with anyone as I was with Rahman. At the
same time, I’ve never felt so sorry for anyone as I did for Rahman.
Because even though he admitted that he tried to kill both of his
daughters and succeeded with one, he still doesn’t take any
responsibility for what he’s done. On the contrary, he makes himself out
to be a victim of a subculture that places honor over life. This surprised

me. If the act were actually carried out for honor, wouldn’t he would be
proud of what he did?”

“When we talk about honor killings, women are usually presented as
victims, men are described as monsters, and Islam itself is defined as
the root cause. I now know that this is a rather misleading understanding
of a practice that has many other facets. Honor killings have little to do
with sharia, the Quran, or Islam; they are about a culture that places
honor over life, and culture is something we can challenge and change.”

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