The brutal phenomenon of so-called “honor attacks” is on the increase in the UK, according to new research.
The crimes, which include severe beatings, acid attacks, and sometimes murder, are committed by family members against women deemed to have brought shame on their families. Under the UK’s Freedom of Information Act, a campaigning group has compiled a dossier of nearly 3000 such attacks last year – an alarming increase of 47% in some areas.
In recent years, the UK authorities have become more sensitive to the attacks, which most frequently occur within the South Asian, Middle Eastern and Eastern European communities. Shocking cases like that of Banaz Mahmod, a twenty year old Kurdish woman strangled by her cousins on the order of her uncle and father for having an “unsuitable boyfriend”, have prompted the police to review training for front-line staff.
But campaigners and the authorities fear the statistics only reveal the tip of the iceberg. A spokesman at Scotland Yard said “it is particularly underreported, as often victims are too scared, shocked or tied by family or community loyalties to speak out.”
As the Guardian newspaper reveals in an interview with one victim, even after seeking help, there is real fear that families will seek further revenge.