A teenage bride who came to Leeds for an arranged marriage has been beaten to death during a “prolonged and vicious attack” by her young husband over a three-week period, all with the collaboration of his relations who apparently took an instant dislike to her.
Sabia Rani, aged 19, from Pakistan, married Shazad Khan, aged 25 in January 2006. She suffered bruising to 90 per cent of her body, sustaining horrific injuries that would normally only be seen in victims of a car crash. Paramedics found her dead in her bathroom.
The family blamed “evil spirits, curses and black magic” for the horrendous injuries, but the truth is that Sabia’s broken ribs were caused by her husband stamping on them. He was convicted of her murder last year. The police are now prosecuting Sabia’s mother-in-law, sister-in-law and her husband for allowing the death of “a vulnerable adult” and perjury.
While I applaud the fact that the rest of the family is being prosecuted, I don’t think it is enough. If you have a dog who repeatedly attacks your children, you put him down. He is not willing or able to abide by the rules of your household so he is no longer welcome.
So it should be with people who are not willing or able to abide by the rules of our society. Personally I would put them down, but a more politically viable option would be to deport them. Unless we send a strong message to those living under these medieval beliefs and customs the “honour” killings and abuse of women will continue.
And before you start writing to me harping on about human rights, do you really believe that someone who does this kind of thing can be called human and therefore have any such rights?
In colonial India the British put an end to the ritual of Sati or Suttee, the burning of a newly-widowed woman on her husband’s funeral pyre.
The locals told Sir Charles Napier that it was their “custom” to burn widows.
“You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours,” he told them.
How many more young girls will die at the hands of their families before we have the courage to act against these “customs”?
(Read the Daily Mail article: ‘Family turned a blind eye’ as teenage bride was beaten to death by arranged husband)
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2008