It’s not my goal to be a downer, but I can’t let this one go. Maybe it’s because I’m going to see the Vagina Monologues tomorrow and so I’ve got violence against women on the brain.

In December, in Turkey, the body of a 16 year old girl was unearthed with “large amounts of soil in her lungs and stomach.”

She was buried alive by her father because she talked to boys – an “honor killing.”

I would like us not to be numb to this one, so let me say that again: Buried. Alive. By her father. Because she TALKED to boys.


I won’t bore any of us with the predictable and, to anyone who would read this, completely justified revulsion and moral outrage this story summons up. (If it doesn’t totally appall you, please go the fuck away and never, ever read this blog again.) Nor am I going to go on a hyperintellectual tangent about women as property as a result of cryptic ovulation, parental uncertainty, and the mate guarding these things generate.

I just want us to think for a minute, just a minute, about the phrase “honor killing.”

According to this moral code, it is more honorable to torture and kill your own child than to allow your adolescent female child to talk to boys. More honorable to tie her up, put her in hole, and pile dirt over her head while she pleads and weeps.

It happens to 200 women a year in Turkey alone, so it’s not just an isolated sicko. These men genuinely, truly believe they’re doing the right thing; it’s may even be difficult for them to decide to kill the woman or girl they (ostensibly) love (read: own). The honor of the family, irretrievably damaged by the daughter who talked to boys, or the daughter who was raped, or the daughter who chatted on Facebook, is worth more than the daughter herself. If she’s killed, the family name is purified.

To say “wtf” to express the dumbfounding horror of this is like trying to mop up the blood of 9 / 11 with a dishrag.