Aqsa, 16 years old, was killed by her father.
Aqsa was an abused child.
She was a victim of domestic violence, a tidy little euphemism we use for assault that is perpetrated in our own homes, by the people who are supposed to love us.
Child abuse, always terrible, sometimes fatal, occurs in homes of all faiths and of no faith. It occurs in families of all colours and all backgrounds. It occurs in families of all income levels. It occurs in single-parent families and in extended families.
One of my favourite bloggers, Impudent Strumpet, had this to say.
Think about your own adolescence. Did you ever want to hang out with friends instead of being home when your parents wanted you to? Did you ever want to listen to music they didn't want you to? Did you ever want to dress in a way they didn't want you to? Did you ever want to throw off the trappings of their values and be your own person?
This same drama is playing out in millions of households all around the world. There are, of course, variations. Perhaps instead of a hijab, the clothing in contention is hemlines or cleavage or heels. Perhaps instead of Muslim beliefs, it's Catholicism or Mormonism or Orthodox Judaism. But it is happening. And in some of these families, they do beat up their kids for not conforming. Hopefully in most they don't, but in some they do. I don't have statistics on hand to back this up, but I'd bet real money that within the next year, some other kid somewhere in the world will be killed by their parents in a similar dispute, and they won't be Muslim or a new immigrant.
My own partner was raised in a fundamentalist Christian home, and he rebelled, and he was punished. He wasn't abused physically, but he certainly was abused emotionally and psychologically, forced to choose between having a parent and a home, and being himself. Was this because of Christianity?
Reliable child abuse statistics are hard to come by. In the past, statistics skewed heavily to low-income families, because they were the ones that ended up involved with public agencies. Private doctors, teachers and coaches from upper-income schools, would look the other way. Police were seldom called. Now, thanks to the work of activists, laws have changed. Those people are now mandated reporters: if they suspect child abuse, and they must report it. If they don't, they are partially culpable.
So now statistics are slightly more reliable. But still, abuse occurs in homes that never become statistics. My own, for example. No agencies were ever involved, no reports ever filed. We just lived with a certain amount of fear and pain. Although not as much as Asqa Parvez.
But Asqa Parvez didn't live with fear and pain because she was Muslim, or an immigrant. Her death doesn't point to the limits of multiculturalism or some problem inherent in Canadian society.
Her death speaks to the powerlessness of abused children, trapped in the homes of their abusers, dependent on their abusers for sustenance, betrayed by the people who should be their protectors.
Some statistics on child abuse globally, and in Canada.
More on the current "blame multiculturalism" mindset coming soon.