There’s no honour in honour-based abuse
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On day seven of the 16 days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence we’re raising awareness of honour-based abuse and forced marriage.
In recent years, there has been an increased awareness of so-called ‘honour based’ abuse, violence and forced marriage.
The terms ‘honour crime’, ‘honour-based abuse’ or ‘izzat’ can take many different forms including harassment, criminal damage, arson, sexual assault, forced marriage, kidnap and even murder, and is when a person is being punished by their family or community for behaviour which they think goes against or undermines the correct code of behaviour.
This could be:
- Running away, coming home late
- Ideological differences between parents and children
- Refusing an arranged marriage
- Relationships outside marriage
- Relationships outside the approved group
- ‘Inappropriate' make up or dress
- Loss of virginity
- Reporting/fleeing domestic abuse, coercive and controlling behaviour, forced marriage
- Girls who ‘allow themselves to be raped'
- Causing gossip.
It is often committed with some degree of approval and/or collusion from family and/or community members, which makes it difficult to spot.
There is no religious or cultural basis to this abuse or violence and both women and men can experience abuse, threats and violence from their family or community to protect their family ‘honour’, however women and girls are the most common victims of honour-based abuse.
Cultures in which honour-based abuse exists sometimes also practice forced marriage. Forced marriages exist where either one or both parties do not consent and affects both male and female victims.
There is a very big difference between an arranged marriage and a forced marriage. An arranged marriage is entered into freely by both people, although their families take a leading role in the choice of partner.
In forcing a person to marry a person or group may commit a number of separate crimes including, harassment, kidnap and threats to kill.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) involves the partial or total removal of female external genitalia or other injury to female genital organs for non-medical reasons. Despite the practice being illegal and very dangerous it still exists in the UK.
Detective Sergeant Rebecca Hall, our operational lead for Honour Based Abuse, Forced Marriage and FGM said: “Honour based-abuse includes crimes such as forced marriage and FGM. Victims find it difficult to report abuse, often feeling isolated and silenced by the concept of ‘honour’.
“It is important to remember though that there is no honour in controlling, threatening or harming others with violence. It is a crime and we will take any information received seriously. We have strategies to provide help and support to victims and individuals at risk.”
Hardyal Dhindsa, Police and Crime Commissioner for Derbyshire, said: “It’s so important that those at risk of any form of domestic abuse know that there is help available. I recognise that lockdown conditions have made matters more difficult if people wish to report problems, but I urge anyone who is, or who feels that someone else is at risk to get in touch with the helpline.”
Whatever the situation there is always a person to talk to and there are many charities and groups specifically set up to help those who may be suffering, or at risk of suffering, honour-based abuse or violence or forced marriage.
If you, or someone you know is suffering honour-based abuse you can report it to us by
- Facebook – send us a private message to /DerbyshireConstabulary
- Twitter – direct message our contact centre on @DerPolContact
- Website – complete the online contact form derbyshire.police.uk/Contact-Us.
- Phone – call us on 101.
Remember, always call 999 where life is at risk and you believe someone is in immediate danger.
Derby is home to the Karma Nirvana, an independent charity, which has a huge range of resources to help those who may be victims or those who may be worried that a loved one, colleague or neighbour may be at risk of abuse.