This week the world was shocked by the killing of Qandeel Baloch, a Pakistani social media icon. What makes it even more gruesome is the fact that she was drugged and strangled by her own brother who took pride in his actions saying that she had brought dishonor on her family. Even more disgusting, are the number of abusive comments users are leaving on her social media accounts praising her brother for his heinous act.
This comes less than a month after the death of Maissa Charrouf, an 18 year old Jordanian girl who committed suicide after her brother beat her up for smoking cigarettes. Ironically, her brother was also a smoker.
Qandeel’s story is just one among myriads that never make it to the media. Experts say that between 5000 to 20000 women are killed in the name of honor every year. Once again, the world showed us what happens to a liberal woman who decides to live on her own terms.
In my opinion, regardless of whether we are Pakistanis or not, we all killed Qandeel. Qandeel is just a poster girl for liberal women in our societies.
We kill a Qandeel among us every day by policing their dressing and even in some extreme cases stripping them. We kill a Qandeel every time we slut shame a woman. We kill a Qandeel every time we call a girl petty or angry when she complains about sexism. We kill a Qandeel every time we judge women for things they do yet we praise and let off men who do the same thing easily. We kill a Qandeel when we hold beliefs about what women are or are not supposed to do and expect everyone to live by those beliefs. We kill a Qandeel every time we fail to protect women against violence.
Sadly, this might not change. It is not until women start supporting and standing up for each other so as to stop men thinking that they own us that the paradigm will shift. Until that day, I am Qandeel Baloch, I am Maissa Charrouf.