Friday, July 24, 2009

family members charged, media goes nuts.

when i first read the news about four women found dead, their car submerged in the kingston locks i thought it was really strange. how did the car get there? anyone who has seen the kingston locks had the same reaction because it seems practically impossible for the car to have been where it was.

so when i read the news yesterday and saw that the mother, father, and brother had been charged with murder and conspiracy it kind of made sense. in canada the statistics on domestic violence and child abuse are off the charts. we have a huge problem in this country where children are abused or murdered, molested or neglected at a disturbingly high rate.

when i read that the kingston police were suggesting that this murder was an "honour killing" i realized that, despite how blatantly these deaths highlight our national and global problems with violence against women and children, they were going to be defined as something else, as something that isn't native to this country, as an imported problem.

the family in question is originally from afghanistan. when you're afghani parents and you kill your daughters(or are accused of killing your daughters), you've killed them over honour/their behaviour/tradition etc. when you're just a plain old canadian and you kill your child, you're a murderer and you did it for more complex reasons or you're just plain crazy.

also, media, let's not act like abuse in this country perpetuated by white people isn't the same thing as an honour killing. they share the same strong root in an overall sexist world where women are devalued and treated like property or garbage. when a little while girl is murdered, we don't automatically start yelling "honour killing! it was an honour killing!"

my colleague elle and i were discussing this and she mentioned how differently the media is covering this as opposed to how they have been covering the tori stafford dissapearance/murder. in the case of tori stafford they constantly displayed her photo and commented on her cuteness , what a pretty little girl she was and when they finally identified the child's remains the police chief warned parents about the "evils" of the world and suggested they keep their little girls safe.

to even suggest that tori stafford had been the victim of an honour killing would have been received as beyond ridiculous and completely improbable. but had tori stafford been a little afghani girl, the coverage would have shifted. tori stafford's murder is the result of "evil", of someone's craziness and badness, but the three sisters from montreal's murder is a result of "culture" and this distinction separates both crimes from their structural root.

according to reports, child protection services had been called to the home of the montreal family several times because of possible abusive behaviour, "honour killing" is still abuse, it's still murder, and i think the media needs to stop using it as an excuse for 'canadians' to act as though things like that don't happen here, in this country.

in the toronto star andrew chung wrote that "the application of the phrase "honour killing" can be contentious, particularly for minority communities that fear being collectively tarred by the violence of a small number of people."

i agree, but i also think that the term honour killing should be contentious because it separates out certain abuses from others instead of forcing us to look at the broad and wide-ranging issues of violence against women and child abuse.


Anonymous said...

This is a great article that brings a much needed critcal perspective to this horrible tragedy.
Let's call it what it is - Violence Against Women and Children. A problem that stems from the same root - patriarchy.

Anonymous said...

The flippant tone of this entire blog indicates that the author takes a 'holier than thou' attitude towards pressing issues.

Be careful when defining nationality in such terms ('plain old Canadian' and 'other'). We are a nation of immigrants, pamphleteer. Do not place yourself as an expert on the matter when you are little more than a lowly spectator.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps I misunderstood but I think the pamphleteer meant to critique how the media was othering particular communities and to make a connection which problematized this process.

tee said...

"anonymous" # 2,

this specific blog was not really meant to be flippant about the issue and i regret that it was read that way.

i feel that this is a critical look at how the media uses ideas and terms like canadian/non canadian to frame crimes and how this focus works to "other" specific communities.

i aim to be careful when it comes to nationality, especially as a person whose parent immigrated to canada, and so i would caution you to be careful when making assumptions about where particular views are coming from.

that being said, we at pamphleteers welcome critique, but prefer that it remain a respectful dialogue that doesn't disintegrate into name calling.

thanks for reading.

Anonymous said...

We'll show him. Especially for that purple monkey dishwasher remark!

-- love the blog. Sorry to derail the proper dialogue.

m. said...

What I find flippant is mainstream media's treatment of violence against women, when it can't be brushed off as some kind of invasive species being carried in by new Canadians.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes it's hard to look in the mirror when such egregious acts help "other" another group.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...