In Sweden, the memory of Fadime, a young Kurdish woman from Uppsala, who was shot by her father 20 years ago because she “stained the honor of the family”, was commemorated. The media points out that culturally motivated violence is still a problem in the country.
Fadime Sahindal came to Sweden with her parents from Turkey as a seven-year-old. When she grew up, she wanted to live with her Swedish boyfriend, but the relationship was not accepted by her father. He planned to marry his daughter to one of his cousins. Not agreeing to such a fate, Fadime ran away from home, and informed the police about the beatings by her brother and threats from her father.
Fadime died at the hands of her father
Fadime, a sociology student and active in the social democratic youth school, spoke about her family situation in the media, quickly becoming a public figure. In parliament, she called on politicians “to help girls who are stuck in a clash of cultures and who, due to the pressures of tradition and violence related to honor, have to lead a secret double life.”
The attitude of the young woman and her public appearances meant that the elders living in Turkey issued the death penalty on her. The father carried out the sentence in Uppsala, shooting his daughter in the face. The girl died in the hands of her mother. The murderer was sentenced to life imprisonment, but was released in 2018.
Fadime’s death shocked Swedish society, but it contributed to the publicity of the problem of culturally conditioned violence. Since then, several non-governmental organizations dealing with the subject of honor crimes have been established, and the police and the judiciary have started to take such cases seriously.
Honor killing. The problem still exists
The daily Expressen noted on Friday that although two decades have passed since Fadime’s death, honor violence has not been stopped in Sweden. “We keep hearing about the phenomenon of ‘balcony girls’ who fall out of balconies under unclear circumstances,” it was written.
In an editorial comment the daily “Dagens Nyheter” commented that the actions taken in Sweden in the fight against honor violence are insufficient. The columnist cites the results of surveys of ninth grade students in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmoe, which show that eight percent of them experience honor standards. At the same time – as research has shown – young people have little trust in teachers and social services. “Students do not believe that anyone will understand or be able to help them,” the newspaper points out.
The notion of exerting pressure on honorary grounds is to be introduced in the Swedish Penal Code on June 1, and honor-related offenses are to be punished with a higher penalty, ranging from one to six years in prison.
Main photo source: EPA PHOTO PRESSENS BILD / HANS G ENGSTROM / pa / md