Part of the work of Feminist Spaces is to create new places where feminist voices can be heard. The virtual space of this website is a place where feminist groups and projects share their stories. These projects are not funded by Feminist Spaces, but their stories are shared here to raise awareness and facilitate shared learning.
Runak Faraj, from the Women’s Media and Culture Organization, Sulaymaniyeh, shares with Feminist Spaces.
What happened on International Women’s Day, March 8th, 2019
(All images © Runak Faraj.)
“Women members and staff of the ‘women’s media and cultural organization’ from Iraq- Kurdistan, visited the graves of women who were killed in the name of so-called honour. The graves of these women are unnamed and have no information on them, because they were killed for the purpose of cleaning their family’s honour.
There is one a grave among them which has the name of the deceased written on it – a girl named Snor.
Snor was murdered by her father in 2016 – his name is excluded from the gravestone, since he was her killer.
Snor’s body was kept in the morgue for a month. Then the ‘women’s media and cultural organization’ took her body in order to have a ceremonial burial for her. We put her name on the grave.
According to our culture, when a woman is dead, the body should be washed by another woman. But when we requested Snor’s body be washed by those who are responsible for washing her body, those women refused because she killed by her family. I didn’t sleep that night because of that.
The next day, two women from the ‘women’s media and cultural organization’ and I went to the morgue. We decided to wash Snor and the female staff from Forensic Medicine supported us to do this job, even is not their duty.
We declared that Snor was the victim of a so-called honour crime. We declared there was no sin in washing her body – we were prepared to wash her ourselves. The women at the morgue didn’t let us to do it alone, they were kind enough to help us wash Snor’s body.
When they brought us Snor’s body, it was a most painful moment for me. I saw her hair, that she took good care of and her frozen neglected body; this was a moment that I can never forget.
This is a clear story of women and so-called honour, like so many other hidden stories of women and girls in my society. And every year, we honour her life by visiting her grave and the graves of all the other women.