Magazine article The Spectator

Second Opinion

Magazine article The Spectator

Second Opinion

Article excerpt

Who says that honour is no more? The recent killing of several young Asian women, because they would not do as their male relatives wanted, proves it. The young women brought dishonour on their families by refusing to marry the men of their families' choice, and so they had to have their throats cut.

Not every such case ends in death, however. The outcome is often happier, even if, strictly speaking, it cannot be described as happy. For example, last week I had a patient who had been taken to Pakistan when she was 16 and there married to a man more than twice her age who, as it happens, was her first cousin. He told her quite frankly that he was marrying her only to obtain an entry visa to this country, but of course he killed three birds with one stone, as it were, and not only heat her regularly but nightly forced his sexual attentions upon her. Of course, she had married him only because her father had threatened to beat her if she made any difficulties.

After a year of such married bliss, she returned home pregnant, but without her beloved spouse. She suddenly turned difficult once she breathed the air of freedom. She refused to apply for an entry visa on her husband's behalf, despite the violence of her father and her outraged brothers towards her. They had given their word that they would obtain an entry visa for their cousin back home, and here was she spoiling the family's good name by refusing to sign! The selfish bitch! Their honour was impugned.

They locked her up, they starved her, they beat her black and blue, but still she wouldn't sign. …

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