The Department of Justice would be required to start tracking incidents of “honor violence” – an act of vengeance against women who are believed to have brought dishonor to their families – as part of a House appropriations bill passed last month.
While the idea of women becoming targets of violence for refusing to enter into arranged marriages, being victims of sexual assault or seeking a divorce seems rare in the United States, a CBS News story this year found that a growing number of police and social services agencies in the United States are seeing cases.
“Honor violence often times puts the lives of women in danger for actions outside of their control,” Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), chairman of the House appropriations committee that funds the DOJ, said in a written statement. “We need to learn more about the prevalence of this crime in America and make sure we are doing everything we can to prevent it.”
The 2013 Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations bill requires the DOJ’s Office on Violence Against Women and the National Institute of Justice to track data on honor violence to determine how prevalent it has become and recommend best practices for law enforcement and service providers to prevent it, Wolf said.
There are no national or state agencies currently tracking honor violence, according to the CBS News report in April. The report cited a 2011 survey from the Tahirih Justice Center that found 67 percent of more than 500 social service, religious, legal, educational and medical agencies last year believed there were cases of forced marriage occurring among the populations they serve.
And it highlighted the 2009 murder of 20-year-old Noor Almaleki, who police say “was run down in broad daylight by her father who was angry that she had become too westernized and did not want to accept a marriage her father had arranged for her in the family's native Iraq.”