Honour based violence is violence perpetrated against a family member, who is thought to have brought dishonour or shame to the family and or community. Also, HBV is very often a collective form of violence that can be exercised by one or more members of the same family, including extended family or community.
HBV is used to control the social or sexual behaviour of a person so that they conform to the norms, values and practices related to the traditions and customs of a particular group. It may also be used as a means of punishing or correcting a behaviour that is judged or perceived as inappropriate.
It encompasses psychological, physical, verbal, emotional, sexual, economic and spiritual violence and is motivated by the desire to protect or restore the honour or the reputation of an individual, a family or a community.
Honour based violence can take many forms:
- Psychological, emotional and verbal violence:
- Victim is blamed for family’s loss of honour
- Emotional blackmail
- Intimidation, denigration, harassment or threats of any kind (threat of death or deportation)
- Extreme surveillance, excessive control (forbidding the attendance of school, working outside of the home, restricting access to bank accounts), Isolation (removal of freedoms such as limiting contact with friends, sequestering)
- Physical violence:
- Assault (punching, hitting, slapping, pinching, beating)
- Sexual abuse
- Deportation or threats of deportation
- Forced marriage or threat of forced marriage
- Genital mutilation
- Homicide, death threats and death attempts
This list is not exhaustive. Most of the above mentioned forms of violence are illegal. It is therefore essential to have a good understanding of both the issue and family dynamics related to HBV in order to identify victims who are at risk of such violence.
PLEASE NOTE: In its most extreme form, honour based violence can result in the death of the victim.
It is important to remember that a family environment is one in which you should feel safe and secure and where you are not ashamed or punished for the choices you make.
In fact, your freedom of choice is a right that is protected by Canadian law.
You have the right to:
- live freely and in complete security
- be treated equally and with respect
- refuse to get married
- leave your partner (separation or divorce)
- refuse sexual relations
- have an abortion