EDI Collective

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Collective in School of Arts, Languages and Cultures at the University of Manchester

Murders that are committed in the so-called name of ‘honour’ are murders in which victims, predominantly women, are killed for behaviour that is deemed to have brought some shame upon the family. Within the UK honour-based murders have taken place for minor reasons like; dressing in an overtly ‘westernised’ way, falling in love with somebody not chosen by family, rejecting forced marriage and being LGBT.

One such case is that of Banaz Mahmod, whose murder in 2006 has recently gained attention in ITV’s drama, Honour. This two- part drama focuses on the investigation into the disappearance and murder of Banaz in South London.

The drama begins with Rahmat, Banaz’s boyfriend, reporting her disappearance to the police. The investigation begins under the lead of DCI Caroline Goode, who, becoming increasingly concerned for 20-year-old Banaz, searches police records. Five separate recordings are found in which Banaz, visiting the police on all five occasions, pleaded for protection from her abusive family. These were five occasions in which the police had failed to take Banaz’s pleas seriously, even deeming her to be manipulative and melodramatic on one occasion. 

When the police finally began to take Banaz’s pleas seriously, questioning her family and family friends, it was simply too late; on the 28th April 2006 Banaz’s body was discovered in Handsworth, a West Midland suburb. 

An inquest into her death revealed she had been brutally raped and murdered by ligature strangulation three months earlier in the January of 2006. Her body had been disposed of in a suitcase and buried in the garden of a derelict house. 

After three successive trails, Banaz’s father, uncle and three cousins were convicted of her murder. However, Payzee, Banaz’s older sister, believes that the police failed to protect her sister and that little has changed in the 14 years since her death. She believes that not enough is being done to protect women, especially in this current rise of domestic violence with the COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions. 

As such we need to be familiar with the red flags of honour-based abuse to prevent and help those who could be vulnerable. If you feel threatened or abused when you try to:

  • Separate yourself from a relationship 
  • Start a new relationship 
  • Talk or interact freely with men 
  • Become pregnant or give birth outside of marriage 
  • Have interfaith relationships or marry outside a specified religion 
  • Engage in sexual activity outside of marriage 
  • Marry a person of your own choice 
  • Access higher education without the approval of your family

You can seek help and there are a number of charities who can provide support and guidance:

  • Halo Project Charity – visit their website at www.haloproject.org.ukor call on 01642683045. This charity aims to break the silence surrounding honour based violence and if you are worried about your own situation or that of a friend you can contact them for help or advice.
  • Refuge – ‘For women and children. Against domestic violence’. This charity provides a freephone 24- hour national domestic abuse helpline at 08082000247 and provides crucial advice on the red flags of honour-based violence. 

Banaz was one of 12 to 15 women killed every year in Britain in the name of honour and this needs to change. Here at the EDI Collective we believe that more needs to be done to protect and support the victims of honour-based violence. 

If you know someone, maybe a friend or if you yourself identify with some of the red flags raised in this post, please contact the charities listed above. 

Written by Sian Jones

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