Topics: Blueprint for Living - Full program podcast - ABC
Honor killings are acts of vengeance, usually death, committed by male family members against female family members, who are held to have brought dishonor upon the family. A woman can be targeted by (individuals within) her family for a variety of reasons, including: refusing to enter into an arranged marriage , being the victim of a sexual assault , seeking a divorce—even from an abusive husband—or (allegedly) committing adultery. The mere perception that a woman has behaved in a way that "dishonors" her family is sufficient to trigger an attack on her life. 
Although rare, men can also be the victims of honor killings by members of the family of a woman with whom they are perceived to have an inappropriate relationship.  The loose term "honor killing" applies to killing of both men and women in cultures that practice it. 
Some women who bridge social divides, publicly engage other communities, or adopt some of the customs or the religion of an outside group may be attacked. In countries that receive immigrants, some otherwise low-status and generally Islamic immigrant men and boys have asserted their dominant patriarchal status by inflicting honor killings on female family members who have participated in public life, for example, in feminist and integration politics.