Honour-related violence and oppression

Honour-related violence and oppression is a form of violence against women, although 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 the violence is to control the sexuality of women.

The violence arises 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 socialising with the “wrong” people, having sex before marriage, wearing the “wrong” clothes or having a sexual orientation that the family does not accept. Sometimes, suspicions or rumours that something happened are enough.

As a punishment, she can be subjected to various kinds of violence, such as threats, exclusion, harassment or physical abuse. In the most serious cases, the woman may be killed. The violence is meant to give the family back its reputation or the “honour” that was perceived to have been lost.

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

Sometimes, those involved in the oppression may themselves be oppressed, such as mothers and young men. Boys, men and homo-/bi-/transsexual individuals can also be victims of honour-related violence and oppression.