Irshad Manji blogs about the role that honor plays in the Saudi rape case.
“Honor is the Arab tribal tradition that requires a woman to sacrifice her individuality to maintain the reputation of the men in her family. This, in effect, turns women into communal property. Their lives don’t belong to them. Their lives belong to a wider group of people — their clans, tribes, even nations.
Which means when a Muslim woman is accused of dishonoring — of shaming or breaking moral codes — the punishment against her can be mammoth. Again, that’s because her life doesn’t belong to her, but to a bigger body. So that in “smearing” her personal reputation by being the victim of rape, she winds up tarnishing the reputation of many more people — with the penalty having to be large enough to compensate them all.”