Epidemic Suicides of Women


Warning photos in link are horrifying. TMU writers present articles with the intent to End Society’s Ambivalence Toward Violence against Women and Children.



When I began to research this article it was in response to hearing the story of the kidnapping, torture, rape of 16 year old girl in Pakistan who was expected to commit suicide to defend her family honor being compared to the young girl who committed suicide in the US after her name was published in connection with a possible statutory rape case and classmates harassed her.


“Assiya was sixteen when a friend sold her to two Pakistani criminals who beat and raped her over the next year. The criminals traded her to the police in exchange for pinning one of their robberies on the girl. There the officers took their turn beating and raping her for several days before letting her go. The police weren’t worried Assiya would tell. She was expected to commit suicide having dishonored her family.”



The honor killing of women is “suicide” yep, it is simple. With world attention focused on Islam and its misogynist treatment of women in particular the bizarre fanatical belief that women are responsible for the sexual behavior of all men and therefore if covering her from head to toe doesn’t work and she is raped… she must be put to death, murdered by family to defend the honor of her family. So with the world watching and pointing fingers at the time honored tradition of honor killing Islam has masterminded yet another way to defend their honor without all the finger pointing… here it is, convince the woman to kill herself.


Honor suicide.


Now I know some of you will also find a way to compare this story to that of Samantha York who committed suicide in the USA, but before you do — ask yourself if you honestly believe that a young girl who was kidnapped, tortured and raped walked into a police station in the USA to report this crime might be gang raped by the police officers? It’s not probable because of the laws in the USA that protect victims of crimes.


For example, Elizabeth Smart, was kidnapped, tortured and raped and now is able to testify against her attacker who is being prosecuted. Law enforcement and the judicial system is Working to protect her and because we are a civil society no one is demanding Elizabeth commit suicide to defend her family honor. She is home with her family and is not living in fear her father will murder her.


Sadly recently we have had the cases of Samantha and Tyler Clementi a gay young man who committed suicide after being bullied/harassed by friends and again as a civil society it was not demanded they commit suicide as a matter of fact we offer counseling and aid to the victims of crimes because as a civil society we recognize who the victim is. The classmates in both cases will also stand trail not be viewed as heroes.


So once again I begin with the wasting of breath speaking to this dangerous manipulating comparison of USA law to Shariah law by some. And, for the all the PC whom insist on the disclaimers –NOT ALL men –NOT ALL Muslims–NOT ALL this or all that. The purpose serves to deflect the focus away from the real issues.


I am no longer going there and will say I am not speaking about those women in this country who have sadly fallen through the cracks I am speaking about women who live their lives in the cracks. I am not speaking about All Muslims nor am I speaking about All men. I am speaking about those who abuse women.


So I am moving on and offer no further disclaimers nor apologies nor do I want to hear another comparison to further your agenda. My only agenda has been for 30 years to bring awareness to the abuse of women in countries that do so simply because she is a woman.


So women committing suicide has reached epidemic numbers. Besides the honor suicide women are setting themselves on fire to escape child marriage, domestic violence and the misogyny. Women in large numbers in countries such as Iran, Pakistan. India and Afghanistan are committing suicide and many are taking their children with them to escape from their lives.

And for the last time I will say …in the USA we do not have an epidemic of women dousing themselves with gas and setting themselves on fire to escape their lives of forced marriage, lack of education, mutilation, torture and domestic violence.


There are so many stories that I could fill this blog for months.

I will begin here.


According to estimates – as many as 70 percent of women in Pakistan experience domestic violence. This violence can range from beatings, to sexual violence or torture, to broken bones and very serious injury caused by pouring of acid or burning the victim alive.


The victims of these abuses are trapped in a society where beatings from a male family member are acceptable and where independence and divorce are taboo. Often, these victims are trapped in a vicious cycle whereby they are abused twice over – once by their spouses and then by the very people they turn to for help – including policemen, judges and even mullahs (religious persons).


In many instances, violence against a woman is used as a tool by the abuser to drive the victim to commit suicide. In other instances, accidents are engineered – typically by the tampering of a kitchen stove and its resulting explosion when used – to cause a victims death. In some cases, petrol is pored over the victim and she is set ablaze, claimed to be yet another accident or suicide with plenty of family members ready to vouch as witnesses. These murders are committed usually when differences occur between the victim and her husband or his family – typically when the husband and his family feel that the dowry and gifts given with the girl during marriage were insufficient, if the husband wished to marry again and even if he and his family expected an inheritance from the death of his wife.


As of a few years ago, it is estimated by the Ansar Burney Trust that as many as four women were seriously burnt in such cases weekly in Pakistan. Police investigations were negligible and any prosecutions that did occur were as a result of intervention by human rights organizations such as Ansar Burney Trust.


According to our investigations, in the vast majority of cases where women lost their lives as a result of violence at home, it was their husbands and in-laws who were to blame; while at other times it was the victims’ brothers and fathers.


Some women who seek divorce or separation suffered mutilation – their nose, ears and hair were cut off by angry revengeful husbands and lovers.


Another form of violence commonly faced by women in Pakistan is sexual violence. It is estimated that as many as eight women – half of them minors – are raped in Pakistan every day, partly due to the general disbelief in women’s rights in Pakistan.


Reasons for these rapes vary, many times being committed to extract revenge on the victims family as women are commonly believed to be the keepers of family honor. At other times, the rape of a woman is ordered as punishment through the centuries old “Punchait” and “Jirga” systems consisting of local elders, for the crimes committed by other members of her family.


Many sexual assaults on women occur in custody by the police, an act that has reduced in frequency due to the efforts of Ansar Burney Trust monitoring the treatment of women in police stations, prisons and mental asylums.


Women who seem independent or those who work are consistently sexually harassed, many times by male members of staff as independence and working away from home are seen as signs of indecency. This harassment is not only inflicted on lower and middle class women, but even female members of parliament have reported consistent harassment from men in their constituencies.


Acid throwing is another abuse inflicted on women to “teach them a lesson”. In many instances, men who had proposed for a woman’s hand in marriage only to be declined have resulted in throwing acid on the girls face and body to insure pain and suffering on the victim because she dishonored him by refusing his proposal.


At other times, religious fundamentalists have been known to throw acid at women who are complete strangers to them – because they felt the women were too modern and westernized; even if all the women had done is wear jeans instead of the traditional Pakistani dress. 


The Ansar Burney Trust estimates that on average, a woman suffers an acid attack every week in Pakistan; an act the Trust has been working against for many years.


In our battle against violence inflicted on women, the Ansar Burney Trust has raised its voice to improve awareness for the better treatment of women in Pakistani society and bring attention to their suffering and plight. The Trust provides the victims with free medical services and reconstructive surgery for their injuries, full protection and legal support to prosecute those responsible and a shelter home for these women to reside in without fear of persecution.




So your sister is killing herself and many of you only offer sad comparisons make sorry assed excuses and demand the PC. Until you stop please remove the title feminist from your name because I am speaking to ALL women being abused.


4 Responses

  1. Excellent Post, Barbara!

    As difficult as it is to read, thank you!

    And, thank you for your 30 years in fighting against domestic violence. Through all of the discouragement, I hope that all of the women that you have aided, the lives changed have been the recompense you so deserve for all of the stories that you have born personal witness.

    • I listened last night to your show with Liz and BJ
      and cried for you then I prayed and stood up and
      Applauded you.
      Thank You so much and to BJ and Liz.

      At one time I believed it was our silence that was
      Killing women, Hillary carried a poem with her called
      “Silence is not spoken here” written and given to her
      by a young girl in India. I have a copy and will look for it.

      Today I believe it’s not the silence because we are speaking
      It is the fear of offending, the PC, the denial, the
      Comparisons, the rhetoric that is responsible.

      Women who call them self Feminist who make excuses
      for the abuse of women. Their is no excuse and you can
      Not compare abuse stories to make political points.
      It’s wrong. One life lost is one life to many.
      How do you demand justice for one woman and ignore
      The same injustice in another.?
      If we are to unite it means UNITED for ALL WOMEN.

    • Copied from herlocaust because it’s truth.

      “How then, how then can we stop it… by confronting it full force. Reaction in history has never been pushed back by appeasing it, by excusing it, by tolerating it, by respecting it. It has been pushed back by looking it straight in the eye and standing up to it full force. “

      Maryam Namazie
      The President of:
      Ex-muslim.org/uk | Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain


  2. For some important new information on the bigger picture of why there are suddenly so many suicides world-wide, please see the post entitled “Empire Builders” at http://vocct.blogspot.com.

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