Honour related violence and oppression

Honour related violence and oppression is a form of violence with special characteristics. The violence and oppression is often carried out by several people together and the perpetrators need not be a current or previous partner. They may instead be parents, siblings, relatives or other members of the family’s community. The main purpose of honour related violence is to control the sexuality of women.

The violence is triggered when a girl or woman acts or tries to act in a manner that violates the family’s traditions and rules for how women should act. This may, for example, involve keeping company with the wrong people, having sex before marriage, wearing inappropriate clothing or having a sexual orientation which is not approved by the family. Sometimes, suspicions or rumours that the girl or woman has violated the family rules are enough for the family to interfere.

As punishment, the woman may be subjected to various kinds of violence, such as threats, exclusion, harassment or physical abuse. The violence is meant to restore the family’s reputation or the “honour” which was perceived as lost. In extreme cases, the violence might be lethal.

As a part of the violence and oppression, the girl or woman is strictly controlled and has limited freedom of action. The rules for girls and women are often far more rigorous than for boys and men.

Sometimes, those involved in the oppression may themselves be oppressed, such as mothers and young men. Boys, men and LGBTQ people can also be victims of honour related violence and oppression.