According to the AHA Foundation, a non-profit group dedicated to eradicating religious or culturally sanctioned violence against western women, honor violence "describes physical violence against a woman or girl by another family member for engaging in behavior deemed by the family to be shameful". An "honor killing" is an extension of this violence, taken to the extreme and often involving the participation of multiple family members.
"Honor killings" have been reported in countries around the world. Just last month, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan released its annual report estimating that in 2011 at least 943 women and girls were murdered in familial "honor killings," including 93 minors. According to the report, most of the women were killed by husbands or brothers. "Illicit relations" were cited as a reason for 595 cases, and demanding to marry a partner of their choice was noted in 219 cases.
In Iraq, where Noor Almaleki's family emigrated from, a World Health Organization report found that in 2006-2007, 83 percent of women reported experiencing "controlling behavior" by their husbands and 21 percent reported being victims of physical violence. According to a 2011 report by Human Rights Watch, Iraqi law "limits the prison sentence to less than three years for an honor killing of a wife by her husband."
In 2000, the United Nations estimated that approximately 5,000 women worldwide were victims of "honor killings" each year, though experts believe that number is low.
The ACT for America is working to stop these practices within the United States by working on both the Federal and State level to better educate elected officials.
Download PDF: Honor Violence Report by U.S. Department of Justice