What is violence in the name of honour?
We talk about honour related violence if the perpetrators justify their transgressions with having to protect or defend family honour.
The most extreme cases of honour-related violence are honour killings, but the term also covers forced weddings, domestic violence, genital mutilation, acid attacks, dowry related murders, suttee or blood revenge. The overwhelming majority of victims are female, but men may be affected too, especially if the families refuse them as partners, if they are homosexual and in cases of blood vengeance.
Violence is then justified in the name of culture/tradition and often condoned, supported and encouraged by the majority of the members of a family or cultural/traditional community. This in turn reflects the level of protection victims need.
They hardly ever have the strength to change or cope with their situation on their own, but are dependent on encountering understanding and consistent support by state institutions, the police, the justice system and others who hold social responsibility. It is a first step to identify and name what constitutes violence in the name of honour.
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Conference “forced marriage”, Montpellier (October 2010) –
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