Fadime Sahindal, 26, Sweden.
Fadime Şahindal moved to Sweden from Turkey at the age of seven. She took to Swedish culture and was opposed to her family’s insistence on an arranged marriage.
She was 26 when her father killed her. Several years before Fadime appeared in the media and talked openly about her family’s struggles to integrate into Swedish culture and the problems she faced growing up.
She had left home at one point to live with her boyfriend. Fadime’s boyfriend Patrick died in a car crash the day they were to move in together.
She was stalked by her father and brother who threatened to kill her so she went to the police who advised her to talk to her family. She then turned to the media with her story which gained the nation’s sympathy in 1998. By going to the media Fadime managed to receive support from the Swedish authorities, but she had also made the “shame” of her family public.
A Kurdish-Swedish parliamentarian negotiated a compromise in which Şahindal agreed to stay away from Uppsala where her family lived and her boyfriend was buried in exchange for her father promising not to stalk her.
On the 20th of November 2001 the Violence Against Women Network arranged a seminar about the topic “Integration on who’s terms?”. Click the link to find the speech held by Fadime Sahindal at the Swedish Parliament during the seminar.
She tells the detailed story of her father’s disapproval of her relationship with her Swedish boyfriend, Patrick and her wish to help other ethnic minority women in similar situations.
On 21 January 2002, Fadime was secretly visiting her mother and sisters in Uppsala. Her father, Kurdish immigrant Rahmi Sahinhal, arrived and shot her in the head, in front of her mother and two sisters. Confronted by police, he confessed and said to his defence that he was ill.
Fadime’s murder sparked a debate in Sweden about immigrant integration and also raised questions regarding her boyfriend Patrick’s death.
When he was in court in 2002, charged with Fadime’s killing, Rahmi confessed to the murder. He said his daughter was a “whore” and claimed he had to kill her for family “honour”
Following her death successive governments have launched programs to combat honour based violence in Sweden. Commemorations are held around Sweden marking the anniversary of Fadime’s death.
Fadime was buried in Uppsala.
Swirls of your hair,
They catch the last rays of the dusking sun,
And holds it around you.
Glowing amber light.
A warmth of fire in your eyes,
From courage mustered
Through the trails of time.
How you must have held dear to Love,
Protecting it like the warrior you are.
For you are the true warrior,
Defending love’s existence,
A voice for it to be freed.
Lovers saw in you, purpose.
You are its purpose, oh True Martyr of Love.
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