There is a clear difference between a forced marriage and an arranged marriage. In arranged marriages, the families of both spouses take a leading role in arranging the marriage but the choice of whether or not to accept the arrangement remains with the young people.
A forced marriage is one where one or both spouses do not consent to the marriage or the consent is obtained under duress. Duress can include physical, psychological, financial, sexual and emotional pressure. Forced Marriage is an abuse of human rights and, where a child is involved, an abuse of the rights of the child.
Honour Based Violence
“Honour based violence is a crime or incident, which has or may have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and/or community.” (CPS and ACPO definition).
It is a collection of practices, which are used to control behaviour within families or other social groups to protect perceived cultural and religious beliefs and/or honour.
Such violence can occur when perpetrators perceive that a relative has shamed the family and/or community by breaking their honour code.
Honour Based Violence can be distinguished from other forms of violence, as it is often committed with some degree of approval and/or collusion from family and/or community members.
The actions associated with the preservations of this ‘honour’ include a variety of violent crimes carried out predominantly, but not excessively, against women (men usually become victims when they are accused or suspected of bringing a woman’s reputation into disrepute). They can include assault, imprisonment and murder. The victim is being punished for allegedly undermining what the family and community believes is the correct code of behaviour, thus bringing ‘shame’ or ‘dishonour’ of the family or community. Murders in the name of ‘so-called honour’ are planned. There tends to be a degree of premeditation, family conspiracy and a belief that the victim deserved to die.
The perceived immoral behaviour which could precipitate a murder includes:
- Inappropriate make-up or dress
- The existence of a boyfriend
- Kissing or intimacy in a public place
- Rejecting a forced marriage
- Pregnancy outside of marriage
- Being a victim of rape
- Inter-faith relationships
- Leaving a spouse or seeking divorce.