No ‘honour’ in Shame Killings

This is a petition to all Atheists who have an audience on Atheist blogs, websites, podcasts and other media, to stop using the term ‘honor killings’, and use the term Shame Killings instead.

In India and around the world, whenever a young girl or boy (more likely to be a girl) is killed by family members because of behavior considered inappropriate and bringing shame to the family, the news media without fail reports the incident as an ‘Honor Killing’. These incidents, often involving rape, torture and ending in brutal death, take place when illicit inter-religious or inter-caste relationships between young men and women come to light. The family members believe that they have been shamed by the son/daughter/niece,nephew, etc., and that the only way to save the “family name” is murder.

Hopefully, by networking and through our activism we can generate enough momentum to take this re-branding into mainstream media channels.

This re-branding was initiated on a discussion post on the Indian Atheists group on Atheist Nexus, by Richard Francis. Richard questioned the use of the term “honor killing”:

“Can we please find a different name for it.  I would suggest vanity killings or ego killings.”

Richard went on to say:

“We have stopped using phrases like ‘happy slapping’ and ‘joy riders’ because language is so important.  Let’s do the same thing for this.”

I thought this was a brilliant idea, and suggested ‘Shame Killings’, which Richard liked. I brought up the idea on the Nirmukta forums, and other Nirmukta members agreed that Shame Killings is a good choice.

The idea behind adopting the term ‘Shame Killings’ is to hammer in the notion that the greatest shame is in the despicable act of murder. That society at large will not permit such savage ideas to be tolerated as cultural expressions of an ethnic sub-tradition.

The very idea that murder can alleviate one’s sense of shame must be smashed to bits.

Please ‘Like’ the Facebook page and help promote the re-branding of ‘honour killings’ to Shame Killings.