A father in Tunisia was accused of burning his 13-year-old daughter to death for walking home from school with a boy classmate. The girl Aya, who was a middle school student, was treated for nine days in the hospital before she finally succumbed to her fourth degree burns on June 7th. Thereafter, her father was arrested.
Reportedly, her death was the result of honour killing – a murder carried out by immediate family when a relative is perceived to have brought shame upon all members. While such incidents are a common affair in countries like Syria and Pakistan, local media say honour killings are almost unheard of in modern-day Tunisia.
Following Aya’s death, activists called for a social media movement so that the incident would receive greater coverage globally. They also organized a march in solidarity for the victim on June 19.
“I cannot believe that this case could fall into oblivion… What happened is an unacceptable crime. Further, the reactions of some people who justify this barbaric act reflect the degree of ignorance that prevails in the country,” said a blogger in a Facebook post.
Many people believe that this incident is symbolic of how Tunisia “continues to demonize the female gender.” A particular study from 2013 shows how attacks on women have increased over a period spanning across two decades – from 1989 to 2009. The figure could imply either a definite increase in the number of attacks or a heightened willingness to report them.
Photo Credit: Kapitalis