‘Honour’ based abuse (HBA) is a form of domestic abuse which is perpetrated in the name of so called ‘honour’. The honour code which it refers to is set at the discretion of male relatives and women who do not abide by the ‘rules’ are then punished for bringing shame on the family. Infringements may include a woman having a boyfriend; rejecting a forced marriage; pregnancy outside of marriage; interfaith relationships; seeking divorce, inappropriate dress or make-up and even kissing in a public place.
HBV can exist in any culture or community where males are in position to establish and enforce women’s conduct, examples include: Turkish; Kurdish; Afghani; South Asian; African; Middle Eastern; South and Eastern European; Gypsy and the travelling community (this is not an exhaustive list).
Males can also be victims, sometimes as a consequence of a relationship which is deemed to be inappropriate, if they are gay, have a disability or if they have assisted a victim.
This is not a crime which is perpetrated by men only, sometimes female relatives will support, incite or assist. It is also not unusual for younger relatives to be selected to undertake the abuse as a way to protect senior members of the family. Sometimes contract killers and bounty hunters will also be employed.
Forced Marriage (FM)
A forced marriage is where one or both people do not (or in cases of people with learning disabilities, cannot) consent to the marriage and pressure or abuse is used.
It is an appalling and indefensible practice and is recognised in the UK as a form of violence against women and men, domestic/child abuse and a serious abuse of human rights.
The pressure put on people to marry against their will can be physical (including threats, actual physical violence and sexual violence) or emotional and psychological (for example, when someone is made to feel like they’re bringing shame on their family). Financial abuse (taking your wages or not giving you any money) can also be a factor.
FORCED MARRIAGE VS ARRANGED MARRIAGE
We should all be entitled to choose who we wish to marry. This is a basic human right and in the UK appropriate measures are in place to ensure the safety and protection of its most vulnerable citizens.
Cultural diversity is celebrated in the UK along with all the traditions that these bring, but it makes a clear distinction between an arranged marriage and a forced marriage.
An arranged marriage is one which has been intermediated by a third party but crucially both individuals have a choice. If at first the match doesn’t succeed, it is up to the arranger to find other potentially suitable matches. In time a match will be found and both individuals and their families can be confident that, by having a free choice, the couple will have every chance to be happy together.
The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 makes it a criminal offence to force someone to marry. Forcing someone to marry can result in a sentence of up to seven years in prison.
For more information on Honour Based Abuse & Forced Marriage, please the websites below:
The Right to Choose: Multi-agency statutory guidance for dealing with forced marriage