Women, Rape, and Honour

Women in Islamic societies who are raped are often obliged to keep quite about it. For if her family finds out, the chances are she will be punished or even murdered for disgracing the family honour. Second, unless she can produce four male witnesses to the act, she is not likely to be able prove anything. Indeed, she could end up in jail for zina, unlawful sexual intercourse.

Eleven women are on trial in Turkey for having insulted Turkey's security forces. These women described sexual torture at a conference on sexual abuse and rape in Istanbul organised last year by the Women's Workers' Union. Women in Turkey rarely talk of their ordeal, for fear of worsening their situation by violating the strict laws that restrict freedom of expression particularly where it concerns the honour and reputation of Turkey's security forces. Amnesty International has condemned the trials.

[Source: The Guardian Weekly, March29-April,4,2001, page 5]