Saturday, January 14, 2012

On Honor Killings, veracity of facts, and people in glass houses

So this evening I came across the following tweet:

 Stacy Hyatt 

3000 Women Have Been Killed LAST YEAR, in Great Britain Alone, as .Honor Killings :   

Honor kills are a horrible. I have no room in  my life for violence against women (or men) in any form. I've sat in my office with Muslim women who escaped terrible violence (or are enduring terrible violence) as well as with Muslim women who have never known violence.

My attention, of course, was drawn to the exaggerated spewing of hate from the 700 Club that you can find in the link shared by Stacy Hyatt. The xenophobic-baiting gets me every time.

I did a little fact checking. Interestingly, the Guardian reports that the murder rate in England and Wales was 619 in 2010. Seems like someone has their facts wrong. I listened to the 700 Club clip--what was actually reported is that there were 3,000 honor attacks in Britain. Honor attacks are not quite murder, though both are pretty horrible things. I dug a little deeper and discovered that the actual number of honor attacks, as reported by the BBC, is 2,823.

Okay. So they aren't murders, they are attacks. There aren't 3,000 of them, there are 2,823. Some of you might say I'm quibbling about details. I think accuracy matters. Careful attention to details like this helps me judge whether or not anything else someone is saying has any veracity.

Why do I care? I care because I see our media covering the extreme and ignorming the mainstream. I'm also tired that 37.8 percent of our population who voted in the 2010 election speak for the other 62.2 percent (this doesn't really belong here, but I'm annoyed about it and just had to say it).

Back to our regularly scheduled program.

From all reports, violence against women in Muslim countries is pretty horrific. However not every Muslim women is abused. Those interested in domestic violence in Muslim countries might check out the website Women's Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equality.

This really isn't the point. It's not about who is experiencing violence and who is not. It isn't about what kind of violence is worse. What really got my goat about this whole kerfuffle was two fold: inaccurate information being shared and an emphasis on 2,823 dramatic crimes with no attention paid to the millions of other women (in the United States and the world, many of whom are not Muslim) who suffer violence.

Our own country has abysmal statistics about violence against women. Before the folks from the 700 Club and the Stacy Hyatts of the world run to the street corners casing aspersions against the entire Muslim civilization, they need to look inside their own house.
People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
Let's look at our glass house, also known as the statistics about domestic violence in the United States. Click here for the full report

  • On average more than three women a day are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in the United States. 
  • In 2005 1,181 women were murdered by an intimate partner.
  • In 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and prevention published data collected in 2005 that finds that women experience two million injuries from intimate partner violence each year. 
  • There were 248,300 rapes/sexual assaults in the United States in 2007, more than 500 per day, up from 190,600 in 2005. 
None of this is okay. We all need to own the violence perpetrated in our communities. We all need to be part of the solution to this violence.

UPDATE: January 14, 2012

Someone on Twitter, Abdul-Azim Ahmed, sent me this reference to crime statistics in the United Kingdom. To put the honor attacks in perspective in terms the general crime rate, click here

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