“Tonight you die, Rofayda.”
Seventeen-year-old Palestinian girl Rofayda Qaoud was minding her own business. She didn’t instigate anything, nor did she bring anything upon herself. However, that didn’t stop two of her older brothers from raping her. Of course, since the Qaoud family is Islamic, the woman is always seen as the one at fault even if she is the victim. Rofayda was impregnated by one of her brothers but kept her head up after the attack – despite the fact that her mother, Amira Abu Hanhan Qaoud, and her father did not punish the two brothers who raped her. Unfortunately, Islam also forbids abortion, leaving Rofayda with few options regarding the pregnancy.
Rofayda was taken to a hospital for a broken leg. Qaoud claims her daughter “fell over and broke her knee,” but that is highly suspect. While there, a doctor discovered that the girl was eight months pregnant. She was taken to a women’s shelter and gave birth. The inbred child was adopted by a Palestinian family. After the birth, Rofayda asked to return to her family, likely because she felt she had nowhere else to go. By now, news of what had happened had come to light. The local governor tried to get the family to pledge not to harm Rofayda again, but couldn’t get a firm “no” out of any of the family members.
Upon Rofayda’s return, Qaoud said the shame of her out-of-wedlock pregnancy was “unbearable.” Apparently the entire neighborhood distanced themselves from the Qaoud family, not because they’re monsters who cover up for rapists and abuse their daughter, but because somehow their daughter getting raped sullied the family’s image. Instead of having taken her daughter to an abortion clinic overseas or at the very least attempting an abortion to prevent this spiraling trainwreck from happening in the first place, Qaoud gave Rofayda razors with which to commit suicide.
Wait, a Muslim committing suicide by a means other than blowing themselves up? Yes, I know it’s weird, but back on topic: the fact that a mother would tell her daughter to kill herself for being raped is one of the most inhumane acts I’ve ever heard of. Rofayda, however, remained strong. She was determined not to let this tragedy and the betrayal of her family destroy her. She sent a letter saying she was in danger to a counselor and police were contacted regarding the case, but claimed to be unable to help due to Israeli checkpoints. They probably didn’t want to get involved because they agreed with what they knew was inevitable.
Seeing that Rofayda hadn’t killed herself, Qaoud consulted her husband about what to do next. When she suggested an honor killing to him, he told her that such acts were forbidden by the Qur’an (they aren’t; Qur. 18:65-81) and that she shouldn’t kill her daughter. However, Qaoud decided that restoring the family’s “honor” was worth being beaten for disobedience (Qur. 4:34), and went ahead with her plot. After sending her husband and three of her nine offspring away for the night, she grabbed a plastic bag, a razor, and a thick wooden stick before ambushing Rofayda while she was sleeping. Qaoud wrapped the bag around her daughter’s head, then picked up the razor with her free hand. “Tonight you die, Rofayda,” Qaoud told her daughter before the blade dug into Rofayda’s wrists. Rofayda woke up, screaming, “no, mother, no!” Qaoud ignored her daughter’s cries and hit her over the head with the wooden stick. Rofayda bled out shortly thereafter.
Unable to cover up the crime any longer, Qaoud turned herself in. When asked to comment, she explained: “She killed me before I killed her. I had to protect my children. This is the only way I could protect my family’s honor.” Uhh, you could’ve turned your depraved sons in, helped your daughter get an abortion/get on plan B, or (at the very least) helped her through the trauma. If you really wanted to protect your children, you would’ve turned those rapists in. But no, instead you chose to be a morally-backward seventh-century monster who values the opinions of your fellow seventh-century anachronisms more than your own daughter’s life. If anyone should kill themselves out of shame, it’s you, Amira Abu Hanhan Qaoud.
After spending four months behind bars, she was released pending the outcome of her trial. Crimes such as Qaoud’s in Palestine normally earn the offender a measly three to five years behind bars. Qaoud was sentenced to two. The sons who raped Rofayda are serving 10-year sentences. At home, Qaoud convinced her other children that the killing was justified. “My mother did this because she does not want us to be punished by people,” Qaoud’s youngest daughter, Fatima, said. “I love my mother much more now than before.”