A horrific ‘honour killing’ in Jordan took place over the weekend, sparking a wave of social media outrage against persistent violence against women in the region, much like what we have witnessed take place in Egypt during previous weeks.
And it didn’t stop there. Protestors then gathered outside of the Prime Minister’s building in Amman to denounce the violent, sexist practice of ‘honour killing’.
On Friday afternoon, a video of a woman crying out for help on the streets of Amman whilst being chased by her father (who was carrying a brick) began circulating online.
The 40-year-old victim, named Ahlam, ultimately died at the hands of her father that night. Witnesses say that her father smoked a cigarette and drank tea next to his daughter’s body after the murder.
Jordan (a country that typically sees 15-20 cases of honour killings every year according to Human Rights Watch) has done little in the way of protecting women from the horrific act in recent years – sparking a newly-active demand for immediate change from Jordanians.
Whilst Ahlam’s father has been arrested, protestors are demanding the removal of a provision in Jordan’s Penal Code: Article 340 (which stipulates that a man is allowed a reduced penalty if he is found to have killed or attacked his wife or female relative who has committed adultery).
Jordanian journalist and activist Rana Husseini, who has documented honour killings in her native country for 25 years, reported a number of cases over the course of her career in which men have received sentences ranging from one month to one year for killing their children.
Husseini has also reported that in almost all cases, the family of victims drop charges against defendants, which according to Jordanian law, immediately halves their sentence.
As of now, Jordanian government officials have yet to comment on Ahlam’s case. A viral hashtag #ahlamscreams continues to circulate on social media, and protestors are demanding change to the penal code as well as equal treatment for women.
“Women need to be treated equally in Jordan and we should regard any woman who is subjected to violence as a victim that needs support and protection,” a protestor told Arab News.