I know that a woman is going to be murdered. And there’s nothing that I can do about it
My friend’s maid is worried. Her son is planning to murder his cousin by luring her to a family event and torturing her to death. Silently, we all know it is inevitable.
The language is so easy, flippant and normal that we might as well be gossiping about another woman’s lost car keys. The maid’s son, roughly my age (twenties) has the honour killing all planned out. He’s going to lure her to a family residence under the pretense that she is forgiven, and then assault her. He plans to kill her, to ‘teach her a lesson.’
These aren’t angry words. In Punjab, a man’s self control regarding women isn’t seen as something he is responsible for. She has ‘dishonoured him' by marrying a man against her families wishes. For this, she must die. His honour is more important than her life.
These murders are usually very brutal. Strangulation, beatings, rape, forced sodomisation and burning the body. The state does nothing. No one ever goes to prison; families usually hush it up to protect shame or incomes. This woman is an animal now, to be hunted, pursued and slaughtered by men who will never stop.
Uneasily, we put forward names of safe houses, helplines and shelters for women facing honour killings. There is so little to do, when this happens most weeks within Pakistan and India. The police don’t ever act to prevent these attacks: they simply view it as domestic disputes, or worse, community justice.
So now, there is silence.
Somewhere, totally unknown to her, a woman’s cousin and her family is plotting to kill her.
And they probably will.