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Beauty and the Beast: Violence in the Lives of Women and Girls (December 2013): The Global View: Females and Violence

By Karen Evans

The Global View: Females and Violence

Michael Penn and Rahel Nardos examine various types of violence and abuse against women and girls on a worldwide scale in Overcoming Violence against Women and Girls: The International Campaign to Eradicate a Worldwide Problem.  The authors delve into issues of child abuse and incest, trafficking, rape, and physical abuse.  They do not shy away from the often sanctioned violence of female circumcision and the dowry and honor murders common in many countries.  A chapter is devoted to the role of men in eliminating gender-based violence against women.  Forsaken Females: The Global Brutalization of Women by Andrea Parrot and Nina Cummings (the authors have a combined sixty years of work in the field of violence against women) reviews various perspectives on violence against women in the first section of the book.  The second section focuses on violent practices against women: infanticide, feticide, female genital cutting, sexual slavery, trafficking, and honor killing.  The third section considers the impact of these violent acts and how they can be combated.  Chapters end on a positive note with the inclusion of success stories as well as practices geared toward eradicating the problem discussed in the chapter.

Honor crimes are a part of life in many countries with traditional societies; male relatives commit murder to ensure the honor and good name of the family.  Chewing gum, wearing makeup, being sexually assaulted by a friend or relative, or wearing inappropriate dress in public are acceptable reasons for an honor killing in some societies.  In some cases, just the suggestion of an unsuitable activity by a woman can result in her death for honor.  In Murder in the Name of Honor: The True Story of One Woman’s Heroic Fight against an Unbelievable Crime, Rana Husseini details her fight to change the laws of traditional cultures that practice honor killings.  One chapter examines honor killings in several countries, including Pakistan, Iran, Lebanon, the United Kingdom, and the United States.  This is a chilling look at a crime often sanctioned by family members against their own relatives.  In Honour: Crimes, Paradigms, and Violence against Women, edited by Lynn Welchman and Sara Hossain, sixteen chapters investigate various aspects of honor killings.  Several countries, including Egypt, Pakistan, and Lebanon, are profiled.  A chapter is devoted to the United Nations’ efforts to fight against honor crimes.  Additional chapters detail the situation in the United Kingdom and the historical situation in Italy.