Opinion

The Real War on Women

Honor killing, forced marriage, genital mutilation — that is a war on women –

By Lee Habeeb

Her name was Derya. She lived in Batman, Turkey, she was 17 years old, and she had a problem that few American women know about, let alone have ever experienced: The men in her family were doing everything they could to get her to kill herself.

It started with text messages like this one from her uncle: “You have blackened our name. Kill yourself and clean our shame, or we will kill you first.”

What was Derya’s crime? What had she done to deserve a message like that from a relative? She had fallen in love with a boy she had met in school the previous spring.

When news of this outrage reached Derya’s family, her mother warned her that her father — her own father — might kill her. She didn’t listen.

And then the orchestrated campaign of terror began. Threatening text message after threatening text message, sent by her brothers and uncles, sometimes as many as 15 a day.

Young Derya was so overwhelmed that she did the only thing she could do to free herself from the shame and the pain: She tried to kill herself.

Not once. Not twice. Three times, Derya tried to kill herself, first by throwing herself into the Tigris River, then by hanging herself, and finally by slashing her wrists with a kitchen knife.

“I felt I had no right to dishonor my family,” she told a New York Times reporter in July of 2006, “that I have no right to be alive. So I decided to respect my family’s desire and to die.”

The reporter learned that every few weeks, in parts of Turkey deeply influenced by conservative Islam, young women were taking their own lives for the same reasons Derya tried to take hers. Others, the Times reported, were stoned to death, strangled, shot, or buried alive by their male relatives.

And what were the crimes of these young women? Well, in Batman, such offensive conduct as wearing a short skirt, wanting to see a movie, or being raped by a stranger. It goes without saying that engaging in consensual sex warrants death.

And people think there is a war on women in America?

But the Times story got worse, as the reporter explained the reason why Derya and other women and girls in Turkey were trying to kill themselves. It turns out that Turkey, in its hopes to join the European Union, was beginning to punish men for their attacks against women and girls. Honor killings, it seems, are frowned upon by the EU.

So the men who run things came up with a great new idea: Why not pressure girls to kill themselves instead?

“Families of disgraced girls are choosing between sacrificing a son to a life in prison by designating him to kill his sister or forcing their daughters to kill themselves,” said Yilmaz Akinci, who works for a rural development group in the region. “Rather than losing two children, most opt for the latter option.”

Now that is a real war on women.

And yet we have heard almost nothing from President Obama in his three years in office about Islam and women.

Even in his infamous speech in Egypt, he spoke only briefly about women’s rights, and among his comments was this:

Now let me be clear: Issues of women’s equality are by no means simply an issue for Islam. In Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Indonesia, we have seen Muslim-majority countries elect a woman to lead. Meanwhile, the struggle for women’s equality continues in many aspects of American life, and in countries around the world.

That’s right. He basically said that women are as poorly treated in America as they are in countries like Turkey and Pakistan!

What President Obama failed to mention in that speech was genital mutilation or rape or polygamy or honor killings in parts of the world where Islam is the predominant political and cultural force. And he didn’t mention those honor suicides in Turkey.

President Obama’s speechwriters must not have consulted Nina Shea of the Hudson Institute, who has been writing about this subject for years.

Read more articles by Lee Habeeb

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7 Comments on "The Real War on Women"

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JanieHighwater
4 years 3 months ago

That is a sad story. But that doesn’t mean that women in the United States are not waging a battle of their own. After 40 plus years of work, I still experience bias on the job. I still see, in the people I supervise, whose salaries I am well aware of, are paid less than the men. I also see the religious right, right here in the home of the free and brave trying to take my rights away from me.

Jim
3 years 11 months ago

Janie: Just exactly what rights do you think the religious right are taking away from you

Wanda
4 years 4 months ago

I often wonder what is wrong with Americans. We have become a society of intolerance who constantly looks to excuses for our own shortcomings.
There is an excuse for everything and every situation. This or that happened because I’m black, or Hispanic, a woman, or because I’m too old or too young or disabled….
Of course there is always the lawyer around the corner looking to make some quick name and fast cash for the excuse maker.
These trivial issues have become so misused that most Americans no longer understand and recognize a true injustice when it’s looking them right in the eye.
Sadly, Americans are not likely to correct a wrong until they can differentiate between the two.

Diane Mullins
4 years 4 months ago

I agree with Lee McNutt. Count your blessing and thank God we still have some freedom here in the US. Although with the Obama Administration, he is closing in on Marxism and Socialism. We have an evil man in office and I pray to God for him. I also pray that we have an election in November that it will be a fair election. I believe that Obama will do anything to stay in office so he will declare Marshall Law on a war he will start and there will be no election. I love my God, America, family, and freedom, but I don’t think Obama does.

John
4 years 4 months ago

Mr. Mc Nutt, I’m not so sure. Ask the folks around Michigan as to what is happening due to the Muslin influence their.
That religion is loaded with terrorists and inequalities to women.

MountainDale
4 years 4 months ago

Obama was near there last week, he should have stayed there. He would fit in nicely in the Iran-Afghanistan-Pakistan-Turkey area

Lee McNutt
4 years 4 months ago

I thank the Lord every day that I was born in America. We may have a “rough patch ” to get thru,but the American strength will prevail.

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