Women bear the brunt of yet another despicable fall out of the patriarchal system—honor killing. Honor killing literally means killing of womenfolk by male members of the family for supposedly bringing shame to the family for reasons like loving a man of lower caste, refusing an arranged marriage, wanting a divorce or being a victim of sexual abuse. The range of reasons for which womenfolk are hunted down and killed by men they love and respect as their very own is simply unfair to say the least. The age old system still haunts many parts of the world and is especially rampant in Asian cultures.
There are innumerable cases of young women thrown into canals, stabbed or shot to death by their fathers, brothers and husbands. Very few women protest against the evil practice of honor killing in their families which is most often accepted as a norm even in educated circles.
Sushma Tiwari survived a vengeful honor killing by her brother who brutally murdered her husband, her father-in-law and two minors from her husband's side and seriously injured two others in 2004 near their home in Mumbai. A pregnant Sushma luckily escaped because she was away visiting a relative.
Sushma, hailing from a Brahmin family of Uttar Pradesh in India was supposed to have brought dishonor to her family by marrying a man from a lower caste from Kerala. In 2009, the Supreme Court reduced her brother's death penalty to 25-year imprisonment. Sushma is now fighting a legal battle to see that her brother is awarded the highest deterrent sentence for the brutal murders. Speaking at the National Young Women's conference organized by the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA), Sushma argued that by reducing the sentence, the Supreme Court ruling was "sending a wrong message to those who wished to marry out of caste."
Over 5,000 women die every year in honor killings according to United Nations statistics and the ones that survive are forcibly married off to old men and left at the mercy of the in-laws. Social evils such as honor killings perpetrated against women to this day are a sure sign that it is still a tortuous long march to freedom for women in many parts of the world.