MENA (MNN/SAT-7) — An honor killing survivor recently went public with her story.
Heba* spoke with TV station SAT-7 ARAB in a groundbreaking episode about honor killings.
Imed D., the program host, first explained honor killings: “The act is seen by their perpetrators as a normal reaction to rid them of some scandal or to cleanse them of shame. An honor crime is a crime typically committed against a woman who has had a sexual relationship, or love relationship, outside the tribal framework or outside the conservative culture.”
As Heba shared her story on air, her face was shadowed and her voice distorted to protect her identity. She explained that her family tried to murder her after discovering she had a romantic relationship with a married man. However, the scandals in her life had started long before she was capable of making adult decisions.
As a child, Heba never felt safe at home in her village. Her father raped her repeatedly, and she did not feel loved by her parents. Later, she would confront her family about the abuse, but they did not believe her.
There seemed to be a lot of hope for Heba when she moved out of the house and into the city for higher education. Ambitious career goals led her to study law. At the same time, she was seeking love in romantic relationships and eventually got pregnant while dating a married man who was ten years older.
Heba’s family found out about the relationship. Her sister called on the phone to threaten her, saying, “You’re going to die. We’re going to kill you.”
The coming months would change Heba’s life entirely. Someone claiming to be a wealthy suitor contacted Heba online and lured her to a meeting place, where he alleged he would rent her an apartment. When her taxi approached the meeting place, another car cut if off. A man jumped out and tried to shoot her, but his gun jammed and her life was spared.
There was a second attempt to target Heba, but a friend warned that she was being watched. She decided to flee the country.
Heba ran away from her old life and soon after, into the arms of Jesus. In her new country of residence, Heba met a Christian who shared God’s love. She decided to follow Christ.
How does she feel about her past lifestyle? Heba says, “I pray, ‘Lord, I come to You and consider You my Savior. I confess my sin…I ask that You resolve the matter. I don’t consider my son a mistake, but rather the opposite. I want to be a servant…’” Heba plans to have her baby and raise her son without the help of his father, who refuses to claim him.
Honor killings are common in the Middle East and North Africa. But they have also occurred in European countries.
5,000 women die around the world each year in honor killings. Several more have survived crimes of honor violence.
Please pray for victims of honor violence to find the perfect healing and forgiveness of Christ as Heba did. Pray for an end to honor killings.
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*Name changed to protect identity