A 16-year-old Arab-Israeli mother from Ramle, Dalia Abu-Ghanem, is believed by police to have been murdered by her brother, Mohammed. She has been missing for two weeks, having fled her home due to alleged spousal abuse.
Nine other members of Dalia's family have been murdered in dishonor killings in the past eight years. The first of them was Dalia's mother, Naifa, whose corpse was discovered by Dalia and her siblings. About three years ago, Dalia's then 16-year-old sister, Shirihan, was murdered by Walid, their brother. Relatives initially attempted to hide evidence of Shirihan's killing, first claiming it was an accident, then later a suicide. Other Abu-Ghanem women murdered in dishonor killings include Hamda, Suzan, Zinat, Reem, Amira, and Sabrin.
Following the murder of 19-year-old Hamda in 2007, several female members of the Abu-Ghanem tribe volunteered to testify against her brothers, Rashad and Kamil. The key witness in the case later disappeared. Police believe she was murdered as well.
Due to the lack of cooperation from victims' families and other witnesses, police claim they are largely powerless to prevent dishonor killings. Certainly, there are challenges, but I think more could be done to prevent these senseless crimes. It is possible, based on past cases, to profile who is most at risk, identify them by name, educate them, and offer them options, such as secure shelters, safehouses, even political asylum, if necessary. It is also possible to train doctors, educators, law enforcement officials, and other front-line professionals to identify who is at risk and to take life-saving actions. The state should mandate as much. And let's not forget the perpetrators. They need to be educated on the front end and suitably punished on the back end. No mere slap on the hands for murder.
It is reasonable to assume any Abu-Ghanem females in Israel are at extremely high risk for dishonor killing. Why do their lives have so little value? It is past time to get serious about preventing femicide. It can be done.
To learn more about this case, see: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/128639
Causes Ellen Sheeley Supports
For All Women Foundation