Honour Based Abuse (often referred to as ‘HBV’ – ‘Honour Based Violence’) is defined as: any crime or incident, which has or may have been committed to protect or defend the honour of a family and/or community.
The United Nations estimates that around 5000 women die each year as a result of Honour Based Violence. HBV, along with other forms of honour based abuse, such as domestic incarceration or harassment is carried out against women in order to maintain men’s power and to deny women their basic human rights of making decisions about their identity, sexuality and relationships. HBV is often committed by family members or acquaintances of a victim, under the claim that the victim has brought shame to a family or community, by defying the traditional values and traditions of their culture by, for example:
- Forming a relationship with someone from a different culture, religion or social status
- Wanting to avoid a forced marriage
- Indulging in activities or fashions that aren’t considered acceptable within a given culture
HBV is frequently connected to forced marriage, however, the terms forced marriage and arranged marriage are often confused. In a forced marriage, at least one party does not give their consent and some element of duress, either physical, emotional or psychological, is involved. In an arrangedmarriage, both partners take a significant role in the proceedings and either party reserves the right to withdraw at any stage. There is little or no basis in any religion for forced marriage, however, confused or deliberately convoluted notions of religion and culture are often used to justify the practice.