This research aims to explore the concept of HBV; against women within, Kurdish-Turkish, communities in the UK. Furthermore, the research aims to produce prevention methods to combat this crime. The research was achieved through adopting a qualitative framework. The results were groundbreaking; in-fact, it has added knowledge to previous literature, and contradicted the majority of previous literature.
‘Bye Dad, sorry I was so much trouble. Me and you will probably never understand each other, but I’m sorry I wasn’t what you wanted, but there’s some things you can’t change. Hey, for an older man you have a good strong punch and kick. I hope you enjoyed testing your strength on me, it was fun being on the receiving end. Well done.’
This was a letter written by sixteen-year-old, Heshu Yones (BBC, 2003; Dodd, 2003). Shortly after this letter, Heshu, was stabbed by her ‘Kurdish’ father, eleven times, and her throat was gashed with a knife, whilst living in the United Kingdom (UK). Heshu’s, crime was being in love with a man, who her father did not approve, because he was not a Muslim man. For this reason, the approval, for a relationship is imperative to avoid HBV (Wikan, 1984).
The reasons for the murder, of fifteen-year-old, Tulay Goren, was similar to the death of, Heshu. Tulay’s, father did not approve her relationship with another man. The Goren family migrated to the UK, from a Kurdish region of Turkey. The manner of her death involved being: tormented, drugged, and beaten, before she was killed by her father. Tulay’s mother was aware this might happen because she witnessed the oppression Tulay suffered. When giving evidence in court, Tulay’s mother, states: ‘In the children’s bedroom I saw Tulay lying on the floor face down. Her hands and her feet were tied. Her hands and her feet were all a purple black colour. Hatice cried and screamed and jumped on her and the two of us tried to untie her, and Tulay said: ‘Mum don’t untie me, I want to die’. In the meantime Mehmet had come from downstairs and said don’t untie, don’t touch he said.” (Bingham, 2009).
Yet neither, Tulay’s nor Heshu’s, family members did anything to stop the perpetrators. The incidents of honour killings (HK); accordingly are the most unpleasant manifestation of HBV. Despite this, no research has been conducted to examine Turkish-Kurdish men’s attitudes towards HBV and women within the UK. This is concerning as there are growing number of migrants into the UK, and not much is known about them (Duvell, 2010; King et al, 2008) Thus, often true representations are not given, which is usually facilitated within the mainstream media (Gill, 2006). Taking this into consideration, I felt obliged to give a true representation of the Kurdish-Turkish men’s attitude towards HBV and women.
As a result, this research is unique as there have been no studies conducted in this magnitude. Another factor, which makes this research unique is the researcher background; being a Kurdish, ‘man’ who migrated from Turkey, to the UK, over fifteen years ago. Hence, I believe with my: language skills, gender, and knowledge on the culture would permit achieving this goal.
The term culture is dynamic, for the purpose of this study; culture is referred to as: honour, attitudes towards women, gender equality, sexual control, and religion. This is because these factors create the gap amongst Muslim migrants, and mainstream societies in the UK (Pettersson, 2007). Other motive for this research was to produce groundbreaking information, to contribute to the previous literature, and socio-legal understanding of HBV. The overall goals were achieved by examining: research subjects’ attitudes, and perceptions towards HBV and women; exploring the perception of Islam towards HBV; and exploration of prevention methods needed to stop this crime.
The focus of this research is not to presume HBV is only confided to Kurdish-Turkish communities. In view of this, dynamics of HBV are full of different complexities, because of the different constructions of ‘honour’ (Razack, 2008). These constructions are not fixed, because the concept changes over time and place. It is usually influenced through primary socialisation of: religion, cultures, traditions, languages, and patriarchal structures ( Haviland et al, 2014). To be able to understand HBV, more research needs to be conducted within the national and International sphere. In recent times, incidents of HBV have received increased attention from: the media, human-rights groups, government-nongovernmental organisations, and academics. However, Idriss and Abbas (2011), argue it has not been explored in-depth within the UK, or around the world. Thus, there is a great need to unravel the true nature of HBV; in fact, the previous literature only represents the tip of the iceberg.
The goal of the literature review is to make the reader understand the nature of HBV; often, there are confusions between HBV, and domestic violence. This confusion is due to wide range of interpretations given to them (Pope, 2012). The objective will be achieved through discussing the nature of domestic violence and HBV, in terms of their similarities, and differences.
2.1 What is Domestic Violence?
Introduction to domestic violence
There is an absent definition, for domestic violence; therefore, it is important to understand what definitions have been given. The term domestic violence was previously viewed upon by the state as a private crime, and not public until the nineteenth century. The difference between the two is that private occurs behind closed doors, without the public knowledge; therefore, there is limited intervention from the: community, state, family, and friends. In contrast, a public crime makes it more possible for intervention because it is visible to the public sphere (Wilcox, 2006: Harne and Radford, 2008).
The previous definition given by the government on domestic violence was altered recently; as it was realised, young person’s between the ages of sixteen and eighteen needed to be included. It is important to note, children can also be victims of domestic violence from the direct, or indirect experiences of abuse (NSPCC, 2006). The definition was implemented on 31st March, 2013, and it states: ‘any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse: psychological, physical, sexual, financial, and emotional’ (Home Office, 2013: 2). In other words, domestic violence contains different manifestations of abuse, which can occur repeatedly, or routinely within an intimate relationship (Wilcox, 2006).
Hester (2008) argues there is an absence of trustworthy national figures in relation to domestic violence; therefore, true representations of the consequences are not given (in Womans Aid, 2013). The consequence of domestic violence, which is known, is that it affects the entire population because it occurs across all: cultures, age, genders, ethnicities, and socio-economic groups (McCue, 2008; Dutton, 2006 ) . All consequences considered, represent a serious danger to public health; in fact, the end result of domestic violence goes beyond cancer and motor vehicle accidents, in England and Wales (Nicholas et al 2005; McNeeley and Mann, 1990).
Previous studies conducted within UK, estimates seven percent of women, and five percent of men experienced domestic violence during their lifetime (Smith et al, 2012; Walby and Allen, 2004). Therefore, victims of this crime are more likely to be women; consequently, it is estimated ‘more two woman’ die every week because of domestic violence (Women’s Aid, 2013; Keeling and Mason, 2008: 179). Lastly, female victimisation is common amongst women who are under the age of twenty four, and suffer from long-standing health problems within (Office For National Statistics, 2013).
Moreover, incidents of domestic violence make up sixteen to twenty-five percent of violent crimes, which are officially reported (Home Office, 2004). In terms of reporting, it is estimated only between twenty-three to forty three percent of domestic violence is reported; thus, there is still a major dark figure unknown with the true nature of this crime (Smith et al, 2012; Walby, 2004). One explanation, for the unknown true figures within the UK is due to the wide range of interpretation given to domestic violence, which makes it difficult for the databases used to identify, and evaluate collected data (Walby and Myhill, 2001).
The wide range of interpretation given to domestic violence creates other issues, for debate, as the manner of data is collected by the government agencies. This is because there is no statutory offence to cover domestic violence; thus, the government are able to collect figures without classifying, and detaching domestic violence in separate groups amongst other data collected (Walby and Myhill, 2001). Until the government addresses some of the issues discussed, domestic violence will carry on to go unreported, which further delays time, and effort to develop affective strategies to combat this crime. Moreover, if these issues are resolved it can encourage reporting, and give confidence to victims to seek help (Stanko, 2001). All things considered, the consequence of domestic violence costs the UK economy, twenty billion annually (Pope, 2012)
Key Themes of Domestic Violence
1. Abuse and Effects
Domestic violence occurs through a partner, ex-partner, or close family member attempting to impose power and control upon the victim. Likewise, Walby and Allen (2004), discuss rape offences committed within the UK are conducted by current, or previous partners.
The consequences of the abuse, leads to the victim living in fear, and altering their lifestyle in accordance with the abuser. The abuse can occur through intentional or accidental forms of physical force, which causes long term bodily and emotional harm upon the victim (Kenney, 2012). However, with regards to emotional harm it is more difficult to identify in comparison to physical abuse. The physical-emotional element of abuse can also be used as a method against children, pets, property, friends, and families of the victim; to permitting the abuser to gain control, and power through degrading their victim (Kenney, 2012). In regards to property, it has a close link to financial abuse, which is achieved through the use of victim’s possessions and funds without their consent in a forcible manner. Moreover, in order to control the victims’ income they can be prevented from employment by the abuser (Shipway, 2004). Thus, often from these kinds of treatments results in the victims being reluctant in seeking help because of the eroded self-confidence. As a consequence, this inclines the victim to be reliant upon the abuser, which leads to the cycle of abuse from the created social deprivation of the economics, private, and public sphere (Kenney, 2012). Similar consequences can rise through other forms of abuse, which is associated with domestic violence; leaving the victim with feeling of humility, shame, and vulnerability (McCue, 2008). The recent statistics shows one in five women, are likely to be victims of sexual violence (Woman’s Aid, 2013)
2. Domestic violence is usually gender based.
The previous literature on domestic violence suggests that there is an absent agreement, for the gender base explanation for domestic violence. This is because research conducted on this area has different methodologies, and definitions; thus, findings of gender based on domestic violence differs (Womans, Aid 2013). Similarly, Johnson (2006), raises the importance of defining, and distinguishing different types of gender based violence. This is because often, ‘gender relations are complex and changing’ ( Wilcox, 2006: 6). Within this complexity there are: ‘different causes, different patterns of development, different consequences, and require different forms of intervention’, all which needs to be explored ( Johnson, 2006: 1003).
Moreover, Hester (2009), discusses men, and women in heterosexual relationships can suffer similar types of domestic violence. However, there are still key differences between both men and woman; one being woman are more likely to be victims of domestic violence, because men are more likely to be repeated perpetrators (Office for National Statistics, 2013. However, it is also important to note men consider incidents of domestic violence as being, ‘too trivial or not worth reporting’, which might explain their low report rate (Hester, 2009: 3). Other differences being females are subject to more coercive control, and serious violence in comparison to men (Hester, 2009). Therefore, the consequences of domestic violence are more fatal on women (Ansara et al, 2011).
The causes of DV is complex because, ‘research is not clear as to the causes of domestic violence’ ( Newman and Newman, 2008: 11). The social learning and development theory, consider the cause of domestic violence occurring through lived experiences of domestic violence, observations, culture, society, and family. Thus, children have the potential to adopt aggressive behaviour learnt from their experiences, as being an appropriate form of conflict resolution (Wolfe and Jaffe, 1999).The impact of society has close link to societal structure theory, which examines the role of society, and degrading the position of women. This is in regards to culture, economic, legal and political factors which perpetuate DV ( Wolfe and Jaffe, 1999; Heise et al, 1999).
It is important to note there are aggravating factors, which can perpetuate DV, but are not the cause. This can be seen with: alcohol, drugs, economic problems, anger, and opportunity (Newman and Newman, 2008). With regards to opportunity, domestic violence is often committed in the private sphere and not public; thus, woman are often trapped, and more dependent on the abuser (Newman and Newman, 2008). The entrapment within the private sphere is also possible through denial. This is often because: ‘there are three tendencies of both abuser and victim: to deny the abuse, to minimise the abuse, or to blame the other person- or, outside people’ ( Newman and Newman, 2008: 12). The consequences can create a never ending cycle of domestic violence (Walker, 1979).
Another important theme, which needs to be considered, and was mentioned briefly, is the cycle of abuse. Walker ‘s (1979: 55), ‘cycle theory of violence’ theory converse the dynamic forces, which leads to victimisation, and a repeat cycle of abuse. The theory is grounded on the idea that women in abusive relationships are not subject to violence the entire time; because there is a drift between periods of abuse, and peaceful relationships (Walker 1979). According to Walker (1979), it is the drift of caring, and abuse, which prevents the victim from leaving the abusive relationship. As a result, this maintains the perpetrators abuse over the victim to repeat the cycle.
The theory is comprised of three different stages. The first is the tension building stage; where slight incidents of domestic violence start to rise to the surface. The victim of the abuse can feel the tension between them and the abuser; thus, they attempt to avoid the violence by attempting to take control. However, the victim cannot control the abuser; hence, the abuser is able to become authoritative and violent during this stage (Walker 1979). The second stage is ‘explosion’. In comparison to the first stage this stage is shorter; however, during this stage the violence and abuse is more frequent, and intense because of the loss of self-control (Walker, 1979). The final stage is the ‘honeymoon’ phase, because the abuser is apologetic, and sorry for their abusive actions. Moreover, often the abusers make empty promises that they would not repeat their violent actions; at the same time, the abuser becomes romantic and engages in sexual intercourse with their partner. It is important to bring to the reader’s attention, due to impact of external and internal factors, Walker (1979), identifies the difficulty of forecasting the judgment of each stage, and recurrence of abuse.
2.2 What is honour based violence?
The term HBV contains all the characteristics of domestic violence; as a matter of fact, HBV can be seen as having two faces. One face of HBV can be seen as domestic violence, and the second being differences between HBV and domestic violence. These differences are more complex and dynamic (Chesler, 2009).
The concept of HBV is not new; in fact, it has historically been present within all societies across the world (Government of Canada, 2013). This is a crime, which has perpetuated throughout history and has been committed amongst all ages and classes. It is especially more common with the less privileged in terms of economics; thus, all they have left is their honour, which increases the value of their status in society (Pope, 2012).
Gill (2004) and Pope (2012) discuss the occurrence of HBV varies over time and place; therefore, the expression is subjective. Therefore, despite of its historical presence within the international and national sphere there is an absent definition for the crimes associated with HBV. The definition given by the government perceives HBV as a: ‘collection of practices, which are used to control behaviour within families to protect perceived cultural & 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’ (ACPO, 2008: 30). The violence is often planned by the family, friends, and the community.
The manifestation of HBV is complex and dynamic, which stretches across: female genital mutilation, forced marriage, victim of rape, wanting a divorce, adultery, refusing an arranged marriage, and the most extreme form being honour killings (McVeigh, 2009;House of Commons Home Affairs Committee, 2008) The practice of HBV is often carried by a man, or a group, because men are seen as setting the norm while women are viewed upon as the deviant (JLatham, 2006; Abu-Odeh, 1996). However, women are known to also commit violence in the name of honour; however, this is rare (Gill et al, 2014). Despite the different manifestations of HBV the consequences of these crimes are similar, which usually results in negative effects on women’s educational attainment and damaging their personal and psychological health, if they are not killed (Brandon and Hafez, 2008).
The exact figures, for victims of HBV are unknown; incidentally, the United Nations, estimate five thousand women are killed every year (Alinia, 2013). Within the UK, it is estimated twelve women are victims of honour killings each year; yet, the exact figure is unknown because many crimes are unreported, recorded as suicides, or as an accident (Khan, 2006). The figures are actually estimated to be much higher, and the Southall Black Sisters found; as a matter of fact, there were twenty honour killings from the, two thousand and five-hundred, incidents of domestic violence, which was examined in the UK within the space of two years between 2001-2003 (RWA, 2003; Meetoo and Mirza, 2007). Moreover, it is estimated there are, one hundred and twenty deaths a year from domestic violence, some of which can actually be HBV related (Pope, 2012). However, we do not know if this is the case as there are no adequate strategies in place to identify and evaluate this crime from domestic violence (Walby and Myhill, 2001). The financial cost of HBV is unknown; however, as discussed previously, the economic cost of domestic violence can also be raised by HBV due to their similarities (Pope, 2012).
2.3 What are the differences between domestic violence and honour based violence?
1. The perpetrators
When discussing the differences of HBV to domestic violence, it is vital to identify the most major distinctive factors. These being the perpetrators of domestic violence are often aware their actions are not acceptable; thus, they often show empathy, or remorse for their errors (Coulter and VandeWeerd, 2009). On the other hand, the perpetrators of HBV believe their behaviour are not immoral because of internalised primary socialisation, in particular with religion and culture (Hassan, 2008). Moreover, often the perpetrators of HBV perceive themselves as the victims because of their lost honour, and stain brought upon the: family, community, culture and ‘religion’ (Phillips and Saharoso, 2008).
Likewise, to kill a victim in the name of honour is often seen as a requirement, which is the reason why often the perpetrator is seen as heroic. In comparison to the perpetrator of domestic violence, society does not believe their actions are heroic; as a matter of fact, it is seen as a criminal behaviour because perpetrators are perceived as evil (Chesler, 2009).Likewise, Bird (2006) discusses within the western societies domestic violence is now recognised as illegal, immoral, and unethical. Thus, government and charity organisations have implemented various laws, shelters, and programmes for the victims of domestic violence (Bird, 2006). However, the same cannot be said for HBV, because of the lack of understanding, and research on this area (Gill, 2010).
However, the condemnation of domestic violence does not occur within communities, which practice HBV. The community also has a role to play as discussed previously with Phillips and Sahorso (2008). The communities where honour is held in high regards encourage and aggravate the HBV (Cairns, 2011). In comparison to HBV, domestic violence occurs within intimate relationships without interference from the community. Moreover, more is known about domestic violence within contemporary communities across the UK; whereas, the information produced on female and male victims of HBV within the UK is limited (Dutton, 2007; Gill, 2009)
Undoubtedly, the perpetrators sense of losing respect, self respect, along with reputation within the home and the community has the potential to cause domestic violence and HBV (Chesler, 2009). However, with HBV it takes it a step further because this is perceived as an insult to family, religion, and patriarchy from the transgression on honour (Gill et al, 2012). As a result the victims of HBV are often: raped, beaten, stoned, burnt, stabbed, and hanged because of its brutal nature. In comparison to domestic violence, the abuse is not as barbaric (Onal, 2008).
A further key difference between domestic violence and HBV is within contemporary society perpetrators of HBV are mainly from specific religious backgrounds. However, within previous and current literature, it appears within mainstream media in the west, Muslims tend to commit the majority of HBV (Gill, 2006).
Lastly, HBV can be seen as an organised crime. This is because there are multiple perpetrators, due to the collective participation of the family and community (Akpinar, 2003). Thus, often because of this, it is difficult for government agencies to gather any evidence or knowledge. The collective partaking is evident because of the absent dialogue from the government with the local community (Brandom and Hafez 2008; Gill, 2006). This enables the victim to be trapped within the private sphere of the home; so, they are not able to escape due to the deficiency of outside networks. However, with domestic violence, the abuse occurs often between the partners in an intimate relationship; therefore, there is often one perpetrator with no family, or community involvement.
2. The victims
The victims of domestic violence within the west are often aware they should not be subject to abuse (Chesler, 2009). However, the victims of HBV frequently blame themselves for the punishment, even where circumstances and alleges against them are false. Thus, often victims of HBV are not aware this kind of barbaric punishment is wrong, and believe their punishment is necessary (Idriss and Abbas, 2011). This is often the case with women living in accordance to informal patriarchal family codes from a young age; which permits them to grow up within an institutionalised system of oppression without choice (Idriss and Abbas, 2011).
Moreover, if a victim of HBV attempts to leave the abuse, they would have to leave not just the abuser, but the whole family, friends, extended family, and community. Nevertheless, even if she manages to succeed and leaves the abuse; the victim is hunted down by her family (Idriss and Abbas, 2011). However, when a victim of domestic violence escapes from the abuser they are not hunted down in the same manner as a victim of HBV.
3. The targets and reporting
Another difference between HBV and domestic violence is that women are the main targets of honour crimes in comparison to men (Idriss and Abbas, 2011). On the contrary, with domestic violence, larger proportions of men are known to be victims of abuse; in comparison to male victims of HBV. This point is also further supported by reports, which suggests more than forty per-cent of domestic violence victims are male (Campbell, 2010).
The use of HBV opens up deeper issues than ordinary domestic violence, because there is a massive under reporting, and under reporting of this crime. With incidents of domestic violence, the victims are encouraged to report the incident of abuse. However, incidence of HBV remains heavily under reported and the victims are reluctant to seeking, because victims are trapped within the private sphere (Smartt, 2006; Lockwood, 1996).
4. Organised crime and the victims
The notion of honour based violence being organised and carefully planned is another differing factor to ordinary domestic violence, as discussed previously (Akpinar, 2003)
The females and males within the family, or community encourage the use of violence in the name of honour collectively against the victim, which can often be their daughters. In comparison to ordinary domestic violence, fathers and mothers rarely kill their children (Smartt, 2006). Moreover, within ordinary domestic violence family members, neighbours, and communities attempt to protect the victims against the abuse. Lastly, with ordinary domestic violence, it is not planned, and the abuse is often spontaneous and sudden, for a short period of time, as discussed previously (Walker, 1979)
Aims and Methods of the Research
3.1 Aims of the research
The study was conducted between June 2014 and September 2014. The core aims and intentions were to:
‘ Explore contemporary Kurdish-Turkish men’s attitudes towards women, and the concept of HBV.
‘ Identify different Kurdish and Turkish men’s perceptions towards HBV.
‘ Identify different Kurdish and Turkish men’s perceptions towards women.
‘ Identify the role of religion and its link to HBV.
‘ Identify current prevention methods and benefits of working with respected mentors.
3.2 Methods and Justifications
Within the field of social science research there are two types of paradigms, this being interpretivism and positivistism (Morse, 1991: Blaikie, 2009). Due to the nature of this research, it was believed the aims, and objectives would be achieved through in-depth interviews, which are in line with interpretivist paradigm. Therefore, the research strategies consisted of inductive and abductive approaches. Moreover, the adoptions of interpretive paradigm also lead employing idealist ontological standpoints, and the epistemological stance being based on constructivism (Blaikie, 2009: Blaikie, 1991: Duzgun, 2014).
The justifications for the research methods will now be discussed. Firstly, within the introduction the term ‘honour’ was referred to being subjective as discussed previously (Pope, 2012). The adoption of in-depth interviews, which is a qualitative research method, allowed grasping deeper comprehension of the subjective nature of honour (Ritchie et al, 2013). Secondly, because of the scarce literature on HBV, there is a need to generate further knowledge within the field (Blaikie, 2009: Duzgun, 2014). As a result, it was felt the idealist ontological approach should examine each of the research participant views, interpretation, and stimulus attached to HBV (Blaikie, 2009: Duzgun, 2014). The nature of honour being subjective also played an important factor; thus, it was felt there was a need to identify different constructs of honour, and women, which was achieved through the adoption of constructivist epistemology (Bhattacherjee, 2012; Duzgun, 2014). Moreover, Brandon and Hafez (2008), discuss HBV being a crime, which is executed through deliberate planning and actions; therefore, it is necessary to examine the motives to identify similarities and differences. Garfinkel (1967) and Becker (1970) discuss perpetrators actions, and motives have the potential to change overtime; thus, they are not fixed. As a result, it was believed these actions and motives would be explored through the use of interpretivism research paradigm, and Weber’s (1964) concept of verstehen. These two collectively would permit the exploration of subjective meanings, and interpretations attached to honour (in Blaikie, 2009: 51: Duzgun, 2014: 4).
In total six in-depth interviews were conducted:
– Kurdish and Turkish Men 4
– Suffolk and Norfolk Police- Honour Based Violence Department 1
– Faith Leader 1
The male participants and the faith leader interviewed lived in Ipswich, England. On the whole, the Kurdish and Turkish men were asked questions with regards to their attitudes towards HBV and woman. Furthermore, the questions, which were asked of Suffolk and Norfolk Police- honour based violence department (SNP), concerned prevention methods needed to combat HBV. The faith leader was asked questions in reference to gender equality, and punishment within Islam. Despite the men being Kurdish, and Turkish all of the interviews were conducted speaking English, except one, which was conducted speaking Turkish, and later translated to English.
The selection of the participants interviews were arranged and organised in advance. The contact, for the SNP was made through online email. The interview conducted with the faith leader was relatively straightforward; because while growing up in Ipswich, I was aware he was the only faith leader within our small community. Similarly, the men interviewed were from the same community within Ipswich, which enabled easy access to specific participants needed.
The advantages of using known research participants are the researcher was aware of their basic background, age, and class. This knowledge also aided to find exact participants needed (Roberson 2003). Moreover, due to the sensitive topic of HBV, interviewing acquaintances enabled building rapport, and trust. As a result, this permitted deeper discussions of sensitive issues (Blichfeldt and Heldbjerg, 2011). Similarly, there is now a growing amount of researchers, who now tend to interview acquaintances over strangers (Perecman and Curran, 2006).
However, interviewing acquaintances can also have disadvantages; one being, the effect on the quality of data (Blichfeldt and Heldbjerg, 2011). This is because often, the researcher and acquaintance can have the false assumption, that they understand each other. As a result, this has the potential to prevent: ‘exploring assumptions and seeking clarity about the events and experiences, they tend to assume that they know what is being said’ ( Seidman, 2013: 46). Thus, to overcome this issue, and to prevent any types of bias creeping in; the researcher remained distant in a professional manner (Bell and Nutt 2002).
Another, significant disadvantage attached to the qualitative framework, is the results are not generalisable. Moreover, performing the interviews, carrying out the transcripts, and analysis can be time consuming (Seidman 2012; Patton 1990). Similarly, to perform interviews in a successful manner can be difficult, if the research is not prepared and inexperienced. Other limitations of the study, were only four Kurdish and Turkish being interviewed, a larger source of participants would have been more beneficial; to examine the different interpretations, and attitudes towards HBV and women (Seidman 2012:Duzgun 2014).
3.3 Ethical considerations and harm
The nature of HBV is extremely sensitive; thus, all of the research participants were made aware of the type of questions, which was going to be asked. This was done to ensure the participants were comfortable with the given questions ( Mertens and Ginsberg, 2009). Moreover, due to the nature of HBV being an extremely sensitive topic, the participants may feel unable to continue, or require support. Thus, prior to the interviews, local support networks were identified, and extreme caution was applied through the interviews. This was done because of the fear, of back-lashing a future HBV crime, and to avoid potential participant and researcher harm (Mertens and Ginsberg, 2009).
It was agreed with the participants that they would give verbal consent. While given their consent the participants were explained: the nature of the study, their role, right to withdrawal, how the data would be used and, where it was going to be stored. To overcome issues of confidentiality, the real identities of the research participants were not revealed, and in turn synonym names were used. Moreover, the data, recordings, and transcripts were kept safe in accordance with the UK Data Protection Act, the only access was given to the researcher and supervisor (Israel and Hay, 2006: Mertens and Ginsberg 2009). The overall research was ethically approved by the University Of Essex- Department Of Sociology.
3.4 Participant Profiles, Kurdish and Turkish: Context and History
All of the participants were from Turkey, a secular country which, hosts different ethnic- religious backgrounds, including Kurds. The majority of the country is located in Western Asia, and a small portion within South-eastern Europe; thus, this country can be seen as a transcontinental state (BBC, No Date; Stefan, 2010). It is important to bring to the reader’s attention, since the death of Prophet Mohamed, (PBUH), there are two different sects of Islam, Sunnis and Shias (Hazelton, 2009). The divide has been subject to numerous conflicts throughout history, because Sunni Muslims are more traditional and orthodox (Hazelton, 2009). It is estimated the majority of Muslims are Sunnis around the world (Hazelton, 2009).
Ali is a thirty-seven- year-old Kurdish man, who was raised in a large Sunni Muslim family, in Elazig. This city is situated within the Eastern region of Turkey. Moreover, Ali has completed high school in Turkey, and studied one year at university. He moved to the UK roughly nine years ago. Ali is currently married with no children, and works fulltime within the foodservice industry.
iIbrahim is a forty-two year-old Turkish man, who was born in Bursa, which is situated within the Western region of Turkey. He comes from a large family, who are all Sunni Muslims. He completed high school in Turkey, and studied one year at university. Ibrahim moved to the UK four years ago. Ibrahim is currently married, with no children, and works fulltime within the food industry.
Mevlut is a twenty-five-year-old Turkish man, who was born in Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey. Mevlut, also has a large family who are all Sunni Muslims; thus, they settled in a conservative region of Istanbul, which was heavily populated with Kurds ( Onal, 2008). Mevlut, completed high school in Turkey, and upholds a college diploma in Business Studies from the UK. He moved to the UK, fourteen years ago. He is currently married, and has two children, a boy and a girl, who are both below the age of two. Lastly, Mevlut is currently employed part time within the food service industry.
Bulent is a twenty-nine-year-old Kurdish man, who was born in Diyarbakir (the unofficial Kurdish capital), which is a city situated Southeast of Anatolia, Turkey. Diyarbakir’s, unofficial term is often referred to as the Kurdish capital because of the regions geographical and historical location. This region is referred to as Kurdistan by the Kurds and, it stretches across from parts of: Turkey, Iraq, Syria, and Iran as the Kurds do not have an official state (Natali, 2005) Bulent comes from a large family with four brothers, and three sisters, who are all Sunni Muslims. He completed high school in Turkey, and did not pursue higher education. He migrated to the UK four years ago, to live with his partner. He is currently married, with no children and works fulltime within the food service industry.
4.1 Family structure
The men interviewed, grew up within large patriarchal families, where their fathers, or grandfathers were head of the household. Thus, the men interviewed, during their childhood; perceived their fathers, and grandfathers as the decision makers, and opinions of the females were not taken into consideration. However, when Bulent’s father passed away his mother was the decision maker for the household automatically. This is peculiar because women within patriarchal family structures are often oppressed, confined to housework, and looking after children. The oppression of women within patriarchal families is made possible through: ‘the mechanisms, ideologies and social structures which has enabled men historically to gain and maintain their dominance and control over women.’ (Ramazanoglu, 1989: 33). However, even when Bulents mother was head of the house, she still carried on the identical family patriarchy upon her daughters. This is because the practice of patriarchy, is seen as the natural way of life; therefore, becomes normalised. Thus, if the patriarchal structures are not practiced, this can be seen as transgressive within their community (Eisenstein, 1979).
4.2 Perception towards women
The patriarchy is historically formed through many different elements, which stretch from tribe-clan patriarchy, place, and religion. This has also formed the basis of many family structures, and gender socialisation, between men and women (Munoz, 1993) As a result of the patriarchal family structures, the men believed the role of women was to deal: ‘with household chores, children, cleaning, and food’ her only role is housework’ (Ali Yildirim) . Thus, women were often perceived as, ‘just like a slave'( Bulent Yildiz) . Therefore, during the stages of their primary socialisation; research participants believed the males were superior, and women do not: ‘have the right to question her husband’, or any other man’ (Ali Yildirim)’
4.3Witnessing gender violence and punishment
As a consequence of this the men were superior within the home. As a result, the men state during their childhood, if the authority was challenged, or dented by a female relative, she would receive physical punishment by her father, or uncles. These kinds of actions, were common during their childhood; as a matter of fact, the violence would be extremely barbaric to the point where the female was not, ‘recognised as a human ‘ (Ali Yildirim) . All of the men stated, women received physical punishment, for minor reasons, e.g., failing to cook dinner on time, or not looking after the children. This presented the opportunity, for the men to demonstrate their power, and masculinity over the female.(Millet, 1970; Eisenstein, 1979).
4.4 Reflection on childhood
When reflecting on his childhood, Ibrahim, states due to witnessing gender violence at a young- age; prevented him from getting married, until the age of thirty-seven. Thus, Ibrahim believed the age he got married was much later then he would have envisaged. This is particularly interesting, because previous literature on violence states men often attempt to replicate their childhood experiences (Krantz and Marcia- Moreno, 2005). However, no previous literature on HBV has discussed the experiences of HBV preventing men from entering marriage.
The occasions of witnessing physical gender violence against women during their childhood, the majority of the men stated they felt empathy, for the victim, and believed it to be, ‘ a disgusting situation’ (Ibrahim Riza) . Moreover, the majority of the men often felt confused; as to why women were subject to physical violence. The only justification given by the men was that those were the terms during their childhood. This is summarised by Ali, when he reflected on his childhood; he argues the treatment women received was incorrect because in, ‘the olden time respect wasn’t there it was all physical force and fear’ put upon the women (Ali Yildirim) . Subsequently, Mevlut, believed the violence against women within patriarchal families signalled a, ‘corrupt family’ (Mevlut Korkmaz) . The discussed reflection upon childhood, seems to contradict previous literature on the links between patriarchal family, and HBV as discussed previously ( Ramazanoglu 1989; Latham, 2006; Abu Odeh 1996).
However, in contrast, Bulent, did not have sympathy towards women as the other men did. This is because he believed the violence was the norm; from the set examples by his father. Moreover, he was led to believe by his father: ‘if you don’t hit them (women), they won’t listen to you, but if you want to control them… you have to hit them’ (Bulent Yildiz) .
The differing reflection on childhood is particularly interesting; because it appears there are different attitudes, perceptions, and beliefs towards the treatment woman received. Moreover, the differences occur, regardless of all the men growing up within the similar patriarchal structures, religion, and culture.
ATTITUDE TO WOMEN
The purpose of the discussion on the participant’s background and childhood was to give the reader an understanding; of their socio-demographic characteristics, employment, and childhood experiences. The next section of the findings was incredibly unanticipated since it brought further contradictions to the majority of previous literature.
5.1 Is there any influence of family patriarchy now?
The patriarchal family structure contains dynamic powers that are managed by informal codes, which set the standards for female behaviour (O’Brein, 1981).Thus, if women do not follow these codes then they are often victims of HBV (Latham, 2006; Gill, 2006). Erikson et al (2005 ) discusses children growing up within a patriarchal family are prone to replicate the level of violence, and oppression in the future.
This is because the impact of family, and environment, on children shapes their morals, beliefs, and ethics towards gender roles (Krantz and Marcia- Moreno, 2005). Similarly, Coomaraswamy (2002) discusses the family house being dangerous because of the widespread male domination, which collectively represses women. The collectiveness also includes women as mothers also play an active by pressuring their daughters their daughters to accept the domination, and be obedient without a choice. Therefore, the women are led to believe that to have a safe upbringing; they have to surrender their free will to men (Coomaraswamy, 2002).
Conversely, Ali and Ibrahim, strongly oppose the way the woman within his family were oppressed, and believes the old family patriarchy to be, ‘something left in the past’ (Ali Yildirim) . As a result, Ali strongly emphasised that the treatment of women in his family has not had an impact on him. In addition, when Mevlut got married in the UK, he attempted to replicate the same patriarchal family structure; however, this has not been possible. The failure initially resulted in Mevlut feeling guilty; however, now he doesn’t see it as an issue, and he continues to live in accordance to liberated western family life style. Zolberg and Long (1999), argue this being possible because Mevlut has been able to integrate into mainstream society. Thus, from the exposure of mainstream society, he has been able to apply bourgeois norms within the home. Moreover, the majority of immigrants who have successfully settled go unnoticed (Pope, 2012). As a matter of fact, further research needs, to be conducted on individuals who are able to successfully integrate into a host society.
The majority of the men indicated their patriarchal family has not had an effect on them. However, this is not the case with Bulent because he argues there are some elements, ‘you can’t get rid of’ (Bulent Yildiz) . These elements Bulent referred, to being physical punishment on women if family traditions, patriarchal codes or, religion were broken. The monist-universalism argument with Parekh (1999) suggests influence of culture is immense, and as a result, Bulent has not able to rise above the culture. Consequently, it can be said regardless of his integration into UK, immigrants still attempt to grasp onto their primary identity while forming new ones. This is because they feel a sense of belonging; to the previous identity (Korteweg and Yurdakul 2009). Hadad and smith (2002), converse the sense of belonging are unseen; however, it still remains extremely powerful, and influential upon an individual, or a group. The sense of belonging can also lead to the notion of segmented assimilation, which was developed by Portes and Zhou (1993). The ‘segmented assimilation’, refers to the idea that ethnic minorities within the host society integrate at different stages; therefore, this suggests, Bulent, may needed a longer period of time to shift away from the primary identity and culture.
Nevertheless, it appears the majority of the group interviewed have shifted away from the previous patriarchal family structure; therefore, they are unlikely to commit HBV. The response given from Bulent, suggests that concept of HBV, and impact of family is partially eroded.
5.2 Current perception towards women and gender equality
Currently, Ali and Mevlut, still perceive the role of women within the same light as their childhood. However, this perception is inline towards with modernised Islamic view of women, which is without the subjugation, and oppression on women (Baraz, 2010). Moreover, Muslims now live all over the world, and have embraced a modernised Islamic view, which is more in line with Prophet Muhammad, (PBUH) , and the original version of the Quran. The modernisations of Muslims have largely been aided by education, and ‘willingness’ to integrate within mainstream society, as suggested by the assimilation theory (Gordon, 1964). Thus, it is extremely peculiar to witness HBV committed amongst these types of Muslims (Khan, 2006). The success of Muslims integrating in western society was shown with the Gallup Coexist survey (2009), which discusses Muslims integration within western society as being more successful than presumed by the general public. Similarly, Ibrahim and Bulent, now perceive women just as powerful as men; because of the independence enjoyed within liberated western society. In fact Mevlut now perceives women as being, ‘innocent like an angel,’ and the man like, ‘the devil’ (Mevlut Korkmaz ).Therefore, the majority of the men, including, Bulent, currently do not perceive women as, ‘just like a slave’ (Bulent Yildiz) . As a matter of fact, all the men now perceive women to have many different and important roles within society.
The changed perception of women from their childhood has been aided from the men’s recognition of gender equality within UK, in terms of: healthcare, education, laws, politics, and employment. These are changes, which the men have accepted through rethinking the role and perception of women by constant self-negotiation (Weiss, 2003). However, this is not to say the men interviewed have had altered perception moving to the UK; in fact, Ali and Ibrahim, stated their current perception towards women was developed while living in Turkey. This was mainly achieved because of the high level of education they had attained, which is summarised by Ali: ‘the more education I received from school my thoughts would change’ (Ali Yildirim) .
The response given by Ali, Ibrahim, and Mevlut towards their current perceptions of women, and gender equality suggests, the concept of honour is partially eroded. This is because of the contradiction with previous literature on patriarchal family structures, which is likely to perpetuate HBV (Latham 2006; Gill, 2006). However, once again the concept of honour is not totally eroded because Bulent found the effects of changed perceptions to women, and gender equality to have negative consequences. As a result, Bulent, has developed two different perceptions towards women. On one side he believes women should be allowed to have equal rights as men, but only in UK not in Turkey. The justification for this is if he: ‘move back to Turkey, I wouldn’t allow her to work because is against our culture’ (Bulent Yilmaz) . Moreover, Bulent states if his current partner lived in Turkey, then she would have dress in accordance with conservative Islam. Thus, it is more likely, for HBV to perpetuate with Bulent.
The response given by the research participants leads to assumptions of their being two types of Muslims living in the UK; this being wholly modernised and semi modernised Muslims. The semi modernised Muslims, shift in-between their primary culture and the western culture (Benhabib, 2002).
This shift in-between culture appears to be the case with Bulent. This is because he does not truly embrace the notion of gender equality; as he is trapped between two worlds because of his altered perceptions as discussed previously. Idriss and Abbas (2011) discuss that often Muslims, who migrate to western societies find themselves in the same predicament of being split between two different worlds. Thus, they often feel pressured in making a decision on which side to choose; whether they keep to their primary identity, or adapt to new western values (Idriss and Abbas, 2011). The decision making processes is often complex, and creates confusion, which can often lead to Muslim migrants choosing not to shift away from their primary childhood socialisation. The adaption of western values is often not a simple process; on the contrary, it can be difficult because there is continues reflection with the primary socialisation (Bisin and Patacchi, 2008). Similarly, the multicultural theory discusses that immigrants within their host countries carry with them values of primary socialisation; this is because of their attachment to their customs, faith, tradition, identity and mother tongue (Anderson, 1983).
5.3 Female Appearance
As previously discussed, females would accept oppression to avoid certain behaviour, which infringes the family honour (Brandon and Hafez, 2008). As a result of this oppression, women and young girls surrender their rights to the community, and men, who have the power to make decisions on their behalf, without their consent (Ouis, 2009). As Klatch (1988: 675-76) argues: ‘it is women’s role to support men in their position of higher authority through altruism and self-sacrifice’. This includes how a female should appear, or dress in society; HBV is often committed because of the fear that younger generation have become too westernised through their appearances. This represents a major difficulty, for the second and third generation of females to perform the expectation, because of the influences of western culture upon them (Reddy 2008). Thus, if the expectations are not met, this is perceived by the men and the community as a threat to their: control, culture, religion, and female sexuality, all of which, reinforces the need to preserve their cultural identity, and prevents women from the feeling of liberation (Gill, 2009; Anthias and Yuval Davis, 1992). The reinforcement also comes from the created gap, because of the differences between their primary culture and host societies culture. This space created often leads to chaos, and pressure for men to return to their primary socialisation of a culture, which is more likely to perpetuate HBV ( Idriss and Abbas, 2011: Parekh 2005).
In contradiction, the majority of the men interviewed believed woman should be able to wear clothes, which are associated with femininity. Thus, the men argued that a woman’s appearance cannot be controlled, and women should be given the freedom to do: ‘whatever they want; actually this is their choice’ (Ibrahim Riza) . Therefore, it appears the majority of the men interviewed have an absent fear of becoming westernised, and less likely to commit HBV.
All things considered, the concept of honour is again to some extent eroded with the men’s attitudes towards female appearance and absent fear of westernisation. However, the concept is not completely eroded. This is because Bulent believes women have the freedom to appear feminine, only in the UK; not in Turkey. This is because in Turkey he expects women to dress in accordance with the expectation of conservative Islam, family, and community (Brandon and Hafez, 2008; Ouis, 2009; Gill, 2009).
5.4 Choice of marriage and obsession with female virginity
In Turkey the term virginity is referred to as bakire, and it is believed a female should remain bakire regardless of age, until marriage. This is because females are expected to uphold high levels of morals; in order to protect their sexual honour at all times, which is reffered to as namus in Turkish, and hisyet in Kurdish. Moreover, a man cannot have his own namus, or hisyet because it is determined by close female family relatives. Therefore, the concept of, namus and hisyet, is highly valued amongst the men; as a matter of fact, the men believe the women cannot protect their own namus, or hisyet (Brooks 1995). Therefore, there is a culture amongst Turkish and Kurdish men, who are infatuated with the need to control the female sexuality before and after marriage (Brooks, 1995).
In terms of marriage, first-cousin marriage is legal within the UK; as a result, this opens gateways to more incidents of HBV (Kennedy, 2003). Often girls are brought from their home countries to the UK in an arranged marriage with their cousin, or a man from another family with, ‘no choice’ (Rude-Antoine 2005:18; Werbner, 2007). The reasons why first cousin marriage occurs with Muslim households are because of the desires to keep the bloodline within the family, financial reasons, or, part of a negotiation ( Idriss and Abbas 2011; Goody, 1990). This point of view is summarised by Aytac (1998: 245), who argues the purpose of the arrange marriage is to ‘foster family unity and protect property, political linkages and patriarchal unity within extended families’.
This arranged marriage is often achieved by the family members travelling to different regions of the UK, and other countries, to find higher prices for their daughters (Taber, 1984). Thus, the obsession to control female virginity, and having a woman who is pure, raises the value during the negotiation stages (Sever and Yurdakul, 2001). The female purity is also achieved through preventing women mixing with other ethnic backgrounds (Anthias and Yuval ‘Davis, 1992).
Often, women have been victims of HBV because of unhappy arranged marriages. Thus, they attempt to escape, commit suicide, or voice their discomfort; these actions are all perceived as transgressive, and stain on the family name (Khan, 2006). Similarly, Ali argued in line with Khan (2006), and, Choudry (1996), if females attempt to escape, her family would still attempt to find her, kill her, or pressurise her to return home. It is important to note, with absent options to escape the abuse, results in women accepting what is happening to them, and reflecting upon it as fate, or destiny (Minhas et al, 2002).
In contradiction to this literature, all the men disagreed with arranged marriages. While analysing the data, it was unexpected for Bulent to be against arrange marriages, because of the high level of attachment to his primary culture. More interestingly, all of Bulent’s sisters had arranged marriages, yet he wasn’t against it. Similarly, Ali referred to arrange marriage as being: ‘a massive wrong’ (Ali Yildirim) . Moreover, Ali argues the obsession with virginity and arranged marriage, is not because of culture and religion; the motive has become entrepreneurial (Idriss and Abbas 2011). While growing up, none of Ali’s eight siblings had an arranged marriage; regardless of living within a conservative patriarchal Sunni Muslim household. The previous literature suggests here in these type of families, arranged marriage would be common (Hennon and Vilson, 2008; Aytac, 1998) Similarly, Mevlut expressed his condemnation, for arranged marriages by arguing: ‘if a man can choose who they want to marry so can a woman’ (Mevlut Korkmaz) .
The findings in relation to male attitudes towards arranged marriages, suggest all the men are in line with a western liberal view of marriage, which consists of freedom to choose their partners (House of Commons Home Affairs Commitee, 2008; BBC 2000; Cowan, 2010). In this case, it appears all the men collectively condemn arranged marriages. As a result, they are immensely inclined to commit HBV with issues surrounding arranged marriages all of which, suggests the concept of honour has been dented once more.
5.5 Attitudes to punishment
The current literature suggests behaviours, which are seen as transgressive by the family, or community, leads to HBV. Moreover, women are also subject to HBV even if the female victims were raped (Meetoo and Mirza, 2007;Idriss and Abbas, 2011; Quraishi, 1997.). Although none of the men witnessed HBV, they heard stories of this crime committed in nearby neighbourhoods and villages. Ali discusses honour killings were common with the older generation, especially if a girl had sex before marriage, or even she was raped to please the community. Similarly, (Cairns, 2011) discusses that even though the community has no relationship with the victim; they often still perpetuate HBV. This is because the male honour is often decided by their status in their community; thus, to retain their status, men feel obliged to commit HBV (Brandon and Hafez ,2008).
In contradiction to discussed literature on punishment, Ali, Ibrahim, and Mevlut argued against any form of HBV. The reason given by Ibrahim was because he believed, ‘words are more effective’ (Ibrahim Riza ). Ali states his condemnation by stating, ‘for me a person should not pay with their life’ (Ali Yildirim ). More interestingly, Ali states physical punishment is not necessary because: ”if you beat them, say anything to them, they would still not understand. It has to come from within’ (Ali Yildirim ). Ali gives an example that if his daughter has sex before marriage; he would establish whether she has been influenced, or raped. Ali states that if she had sex before marriage with her own will, then he would take away her social life and privileges, for a short period of time. More surprisingly, Ali believes it is normal for a person to lose control of their body in the heat of the moment, with temptation. However, if the girl acknowledges her mistake and is regretful, he would only educate her, on importance of sex after marriage. At the moment, Ali does not have a daughter, but he states even: ‘if it was my daughter no matter what God puts her through’ he would still act in the same manner (Ali Yildirim ). As stated earlier, a girl could also be the victim of an honour killing for being completely innocent by being raped (Meetoo and Mirza, 2007; Idriss and Abbas, 2011). In contradiction, Ali believes there is no honour in an innocent girl being killed; thus, Ali argues the: ‘person who committed the rape should be punished’ (Ali Yildirim) .
Furthermore, in relation to punishment, Mevlut suggests if the woman is not a family member, then: ‘I don’t care about other person that’s their life, I can’t control that’ (Mevlut Korkmaz) . In addition, Mevlut gives an example, if his son or daughters have sex before marriage he would not result to HBV, but instead, ‘sit down and talk to them’ (Mevlut Korkmaz) . These two forms of responses are particularly interesting, because when the female isn’t a family member, Mevlut takes no interest. In current literature it suggests that the community also have a role to play for the crime committed in the name of honour (Brandon and Hafez, 2008). The justification given by Mevlut, for shifting away from HBV, is the influence of western society. Mevlut, is aware regardless of how much he tries to attempt and replicate old family systems, it is not possible because when: ‘you stay in a different country you change… if you don’t change, son and daughter will change, and their children will change’ (Mevlut Korkmaz) . Similarly, Caldwell, (1980: 243) argues the manner which early influence can occur on children is through fulltime education because: ‘schools destroy the corporate identity of the family, especially for those members previously most submissive and most wholly contained by the family: children and women’. Thus, for the wellbeing of the family, Mevlut is prepared to change and accept certain behaviours regardless of his primary culture.
However the response given by Bulent was different to the majority of the men interviewed. Bulent gives an example that if a woman has sex before marriage, this will be against the culture and dishonourable to the family name. Therefore, Bulent believes, ‘she needs to be killed’, because this is the only way to solve this issue (Bulent Yildiz) . This type of violence is viewed by radical feminist Brownmiller (1975), as the worst form of its expression, because it creates a belief that it is necessary and obligatory to commit violence (Mojab, 2004).Where in contrast, men are rarely victims of HBV within Muslim communities, because the male virginity is permissive (Gill et al 2014; Idriss and Abbas, 2011). Similarly, Southall Black Sisters discuss that men tend to escape punishments, because: ‘when men transgress, the family is quick to forgive them’ (Iddis and Abbas, 2011: 188).
According to Bulent, the reason why women are victims of HBV is because men are more valuable and powerful than women. Similarly, Ali believes this to be the case because: ‘can bring money, work, and do everything, what is a female’? (Ali Yildirim) . In line with this argument, support can be derived from Saadawi (1980). Through adopting a materialist theory, Saadawi (1980) believed the oppression of women was the result of economic deprivation. The economic superiority over women, within society and the family home has resulted in ethics, morals, and religion to be shaped and interpreted in a manner, which has favoured men throughout history. Saadawi (1980: 98-99) argues: ‘history has shown the close links that exist between economics and religion, between economic relationships and the moral and sexual values that predominate in a given society’. Similarly, Mernisi (1987, 1991) argues the economic superiority over women rises because of the male material interests help preserve the family patriarchy and female sexuality.
Once again, it appears the concept of honour is somewhat worn. This is because the majority of the men indicated they do not agree with HBV as punishment; however, Bulent does because he has been unable to leave his primary socialisation, which has shaped his core attitudes towards gender roles, religion, culture, and traditions (Pettersson 2007: Inglehart and Norris 2003; Bisin and Patacchini).
Current Marriage and Gender Equality
The next section of the research will discuss the findings with regards to the participant’s current marriages. The aim is to assess whether the concept of honour also exists with the men’s attitudes towards gender equality and their current family home.
6.1 Current partner status
Ali’s and Mevlut’s wives have recently migrated from Turkey to the UK, and are not fluent in English. Moreover, they do not hold any formal qualification and are currently unemployed. It appears Ali’s and Mevlut’s partners are both within the private sphere of the home, and reliant on their husbands as bread winners (Lockwood, 1996; Idriss and Abbas, 2011: Dhami and Sheikh, 2000). Moghadam (2004) discusses woman are subject to HBV and oppression within patriarchal family structures because they are trapped within the private sphere. In contrast, Ibrahim’s and Bulent’s partners are English; both have obtained a UK university degree; and are employed full time. Therefore, they are exposed to the public sphere and are not reliant on Ibrahim and Bulent for economic support.
6.2 Attitude towards current marriage
In contradiction to Dhami and Sheikh (2000), the majority of the men interviewed didn’t perceive themselves as the breadwinners, and encouraged their partners to work; integrate with mainstream society so they do not become trapped within the private sphere. Thus, Ali states: ‘with education, I fully support her and she’s free to do what she wants’ (Ali Yildirim ). Mernissi (1987) discuss the encouragement of education from women enables them to have positive altered perceptions of themselves, their gender role, and positions within the public sphere. However, Mevlut’s partner prefers to stay within the private sphere because of her maternal attachment to her children and family. Similarly, a study conducted by Research Group for Muslim Women’s Studies (1990), suggests that Muslim women often chose not to be employed because they feel a strong attachment to their mothering and family duties (in Moghadan, 2004). Lastly, the majority of men interviewed, suggested the decision making process within the home was made mutually; without the oppression women suffered during their childhood. In fact, within his household, Ibrahim stated he does all the household chores, and does not perceive this as a dent to his masculinity, pride, or honour. In contrast, this behaviour is unprecedented within conservative Muslim homes (Hussain 2008).
However, the response given by Bulent in relation to his current marriage and gender equality differs to the responses given by the majority. Within the UK, Bulent believes his wife has freedom: for employment, mobility, and leisure. However, Bulent states these freedoms would not be given if he lived in Turkey, and his partner would have to live with accordance to the informal codes of family patriarchy as discussed previously ( Idriss and Abbas, 2011). Bird (2006) discusses that within the UK, any type of violence against women is illegal; something, which Bulent is aware of. However he states, if it was legal, he would be in favour of physical punishment and control. The justification given by Bulent was: ‘because I grew up like that, I wanted to be like my dad’ (Bulent Yildiz ).
Taking into consideration the arguments put forward with regards to the majority of the men’s attitude towards their current marriage and gender equality, it appears their values are in line with the feminism ideology. This ideology being feminist academics and organisations strongly advocate on gender egalitarianism amongst men and women within the society, home, legal and political institutions (Mclaren et al, 2008: Wadesango, 2011). The majority of the men’s attitudes have been largely affected from the exposure to western society. Thus, they have been able to adopt a second identity, which consists of liberal views towards gender equality and their current marriages (Pettersson, 2008;Algan et al, 2012). Therefore it can be argued the concept of honour is moderately eroded; however, the concept still lingers because of the response given by Bulent.
6.3 Impact of employment
Another aspect which aided men’s development towards gender equality and equal rights within the home is the men’s employment. During their primary socialisation in Turkey, their fathers were seen as breadwinners, and they were employed with work associated with masculinity, e.g., farming and agriculture. However, since migrating to the UK, the men have not been able to uphold the same occupations as their parents. Bourgious (1996) argue migrants who fail to replicate their parents’ occupation in the same masculine manner and lifestyle, become socially and economically marginalised from the host society. As a result, the men are not able to be the breadwinner in the same manner as their parents. This, as a consequence can affect the men by perceiving their masculinity as injured, and less reluctant to accept mainstream values. Thus they have the possibility to turn to violence against women instead to reaffirm their masculinity (Bourgouis, 1996: Conell, 1987). However this was not the case with the men that were interviewed.
When asked if there was stress associated with their employment, Ibrahim replied, ‘no stress’everything is alright’ (Ibrahim Riza) . Similarly, Ali stated that there was no stress and he was satisfied with his employment because he was grateful it ‘provides for the wellbeing of the family’ (Ali Yildirim) . Likewise, the only issue Bulent faced with regards to his, employment was long working hours because it affects his family and social life. It appears the failure of not upholding similar employment to their parents has had no effect on them. This is because amongst these men the opportunity to work legally and able to support the family still signified a key part in their manhood (Donaldson et al, 2009). In this instance Portes and Zhou (1993) argue complete assimilation is more likely to happen quicker amongst ethnic minorities, if they uphold a legal- professional occupation.
Impact of geographical location and historical changes
7.1 Geographical location
The geographical location is an important factor to consider for the shift away from HBV amongst the men interviewed. This is because their geographical locations contained limited Turkish- Kurdish communities, which has inclined the men to be more exposed to mainstream cultures. Within urban locations, the concept of honour is likely to be stronger and shared collectively, because ethnic minority communities are larger (Idriss and Abbas, 2011). Often Muslims living in the UK are settled within older towns and cities, which have not developed in terms of economics and social integration. This leads to unsuccessful integration and embracement of mainstream culture; thus, preventing embracement of gender equality and more likely perpetuate HBV (Ameli et al, 2004).
Theories of divergence suggest that often integration is not possible because of changes in: ‘language, religion, citizenship, and race, tracing how collective identity and notions of difference are shaped through various institutions’ (Korteweg and Yurdakul, 2009: 219). As a result, this has the potential to create marginalisations, which prevents successful integration. This can create a sense of being an outsider, which makes it unlikely for the ethnic minorities to desert their primary identity, and more likely to commit HBV (Alba, 2005; Gill, 2006; Yuval- Davis, 1997) .
7.2 Impacts of historical changes
With regards to HBV, Ali, Ibrahim and Mevlut suggest the concept of honour within the UK and Turkey is eroded. This is because behaviours, which were previously considered transgressive to honour; now occur regularly in public or in the open and: ‘families must know something, seen something, heard something, and they don’t mind’ (Mevlut Korkmaz) . Moreover, Mevlut believes men put up a front and pronounce they will result to HBV, but in reality is not the case: ‘I use to say if my wife…cheated on me… I will go kill her’. Now if she does something like that how can you kill her’? (Mevlut Korkmaz) . Mevlut argued he, ‘would just divorce her’ without resulting to HBV (Mevlut Korkmaz) .
Taking these previous arguments into consideration, the majority of men believed there was a shift away from the concept of HBV. This is because: ‘now a lot of families don’t care about stuff like this (honour)…all the families are changing now’ (Ibrahim Riza ).
The reason why this shift has occurred, in their opinion, is because of modernisation, globalisation and technology, which has enabled an improvementof education even within rural arrears to be more aware of laws, politics, human rights and equality (Bartelson, 2000). Thus, Muslims living around the world have: ‘adjusted and accepted women’s individual human rights, and we observe more harmony in gender here’ (Khan, 2006; 215). The advancement of technology has also improved cosmopolitism communications, which has made it possible for host countries to be more educated and aware of immigrants within their country. This has led the society to be more socially diverse and accepting (Schonpflug, 2009:Bartelson, 2000).Moreover the advancement of technology has permitted, within recent times, to attack patriarchal structures which oppress women. This is being achieved by governments all over the world attempting to set the standard for: equal gender laws, justice, authority, education, and healthcare to weaken the opportunity to commit HBV (Latham, 2006).
It is important to note that from a radical feminist perspective, during times of modernisation and globalisation, patriarchal families and communities, which commit HBV, can also tighten and improve their relationships against the changes, in order to preserve a barbaric male dominated culture (Sever and Yurdakul, 2001: Khan 2006). In light of this, it is also essential for the reader to bear in mind that from the integration and modernisation, there is only so much a culture can change (Aase, 2002). Moreover, the processes of globalisation have brought disadvantages to combat violence against women, because of the conflict created between modernising forces, local traditions, and economic violence against women (Weiss, 2003). Nevertheless, Moghadan, (2004: 152) discusses major historical changes including: ‘urbanisation, industrialisation, proletarianisation and mass schooling’ alongside globalisation, has benefited women because it has reshaped the gender social structure within the family and society.
Another important historical change which needs to be considered is capitalism (Bartelson, 2000). This is because; as a result of capitalism HBV has become entrepreneurial as discussed previously with (Idriss and Abbas, 2011). The historical changes have led to identity and culture being unstable within the western societies due to societies blurred lines of transgression ( Jenks, 2003). Thus, Muslims living within the western societies, who have embraced the notion of capitalism and bourgeois norms can also be inclined to changed attitudes towards tolerating behaviour and actions, where once was punished by HBV. Accordingly, the instability of western identity and culture can also have the potential to transfer over to Muslims living in the west. To argue this is not possible would be naive, because a new society plays an important factor in forming new identities and culture (Moghadan, 2004; Hapke, 2013; Jenks, 2003).
The findings from the interview conducted with the faith leader will now be explored to examine the link between religion and HBV. The interview conducted with the local faith-leader in Ipswich suggests that Islam strictly condemns the killing of any individual. The imam states individuals have overtime interpreted religion within a male dominated view through their ignorance.
Ali, Ibrahim, and Mevlut argue in line with feminist writers, who have studied the role of Islam and its teachings throughout history; and have been able to identify that during each generation the teachings have been interpreted and misinterpreted. This is done in a manner which has damaged the original teachings on gender relation, and equality within the Quran, which was presented during the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) . (Mojab and Abdo, 2004: Pope, 2012) As a result, this has allowed violence against women and their oppression to continue within the private sphere of the family home and the public sphere (Khan 2006: 215). Moreover, religion can be also used as an effective weapon to brain wash women. Religion is used as a powerful tool to spiritually abuse girls to accept their fate; thus, they are often told that if they do not please the men; they will burn in hell for their crimes (Idriss and Abbas, 2011). As a result, the females often become submissive and abide by the male expectation, and accept their rights and sexual identity given to them (Friedman, 1992: Ayyub, 2000)
Furthermore with regards to religion, Bulent was prepared not to turn to violence if women didn’t practice Islamic beliefs. However he agreed with the concept of killing women in the name of honour was necessary. Therefore, it could be argued the concept of honour can be stronger than religion; this is because, if Islam was held in higher regard, perpetrators would not result to honour killing, as the Quran forbiddens any type of murder. However, honour killings are still justified through ill misinterpreted religious excuse, when in reality it has no place within religion. An example of this can be seen through various passages in the Quran, which states: ‘and women shall have rights similar to the rights against them, according to what is equitable; but men have a degree of advantage over them’ (Q 2:228).
The next section of the study will now discuss the findings with an interview conducted with Suffolk and Norfolk Police (SNP)- HBV department. The findings of the interview have been used previously with another submission to the University of Essex (Duzgun, 2014). However they are relevant because the questions asked were in line with this research project. Moreover, the reason why the data has been re used is because of the difficulty of attaining a second interview with the SNP.
9.1 Previous approaches
The interview with SNP suggests that attempts to combat HBV have declined recently. The previous initial attempts can be seen with the introduction of various national and international: ‘legislation, training, reporting, and support for victims'( Duzgun, 2014: 12). All of which have improved awareness for combating HBV. One reason why the attempts have slowed down is because the term honour is not regarded as a gender crime. Similarly, Mclaren, et al (2008) refers to, United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights being contradictory because in its first article it argues for equal rights for both genders, but no details to achieve it. Given that HBV is gender violence against women, it has been excluded from the: ‘sphere of cultural and family frameworks, places that remain outside the scope of legislative reform’ (Gill 2006: 1-2).
The interview with SNP suggests government institutions need to implement effective legislation to prevent this crime and to punish the perpetrators (Sen et al, 2003). Conversely, Mc Laren et al (2008) in line with socialist feminism, argues the focus should be towards financial and public rights because this permits independence and healthcare to live. Without these, individuals can be deterred from pursuing their rights because of lack of resources and energy (Mc Laren et al,2008).
The interview with SNP also highlights there are various different limitations with these previous attempts. The first being first cousin marriages being legal within the UK, discussed previously (Kennedy, 2003). Secondly; the government have not been proactive with their attempt to combat HBV within the public or private sphere. The private sphere has been used to the government’s advantage, as they have a tendency to use this as a justification not to intervene under the cloak of multiculturalism, and fail to realise the seriousness of HBV (Gill 2006: Goonesekere (2000). As a result, the victims who have fallen within the cracks of the private sphere, go unnoticed and uncared for because multiculturalism enables the continuance of: ‘its creed of respect for cultural differences, its emphasis on non-interference in minority lifestyles and its insistence on community consultation’ (Beckett and Macey, 2001: 311) It is important to bring to the reader’s attention here, that if a victim of HBV is trapped within the private sphere with absent tools and material resources, then how can the victim access protection and utilise their fundamental common law and human rights? Surely, this denial undermines the legitimacy and value of law itself.
9.2 Issues need to be overcome
Victimisation and Misconception
Efforts to combat HBV are delayed because the government and the media tend to focus on the most severe consequences of HBV, which are honour killings. These crimes are associated to only certain ethnic minority groups, in recent times, Muslims (Meetoo and Mirza, 2007; Gill, 2006). Often the mainstream media cherry pick information, which does not give the true perspective of the ethnic groups. This, as a result, only validates ‘mainstream racist attitudes towards minorities’ (Gill, 2006: 5). Moreover, the cultural relativism argument suggests there is Western tendency to be arrogant and judge cultures, which are not in line with bourgeois norms (Parekh, 2005). This leads to immigrants in host societies isolating themselves from mainstream culture this is due to feeling of victimisation and marginalised from mainstream society as discussed previously (Gill, 2006; Yuval- Davis, 1997). Also, the focus put upon Muslims as only perpetrators of HBV creates a misconception and no recognition of this as a global issue Hossain and Welchman (2005). This prevents the public and professionals to be knowledgeable towards HBV. Thus they are: ‘too frightened to ask about the culture’ (Duzgun, 2014: 7) and need be educated to ask the right questions, which are not considered discriminatory ( Gill and Thiara, 2010).
The research findings suggest the courts have a narrow perception towards Muslims and HBV, because: ‘all the different court systems here don’t work together’ (Duzgun, 2014: 8; Phillips, 2009). This presents weaknesses within the legal system, which has been exploited by perpetrators who attempt to reduce their sentence from murder to manslaughter. In the case of R v Shabir Hussain, the judge accepted cultural and false religious excuses as the transgression was ‘deeply offensive’, to his ‘background’ and ‘religious beliefs’, as a result ‘something blew up in your head that caused you a complete and sudden loss of self-control’ ( in Phillips, 2010: 100) .
This has led to judges labelling this crime as only associated with Muslim, and adopt a very narrow perception towards immigrants within a host state. As a result, Phillips and Sahorso (2008) suggest this misconception has created bipolar perceptions of HBV because the courts view these crimes as being caused by religion, culture or tradition. Where in contrast, Gill (2009 ), and Kibria (2008 ) argue that HBV is committed to preserve their primary cultural and religious socialisation. It is important to note there are judges who also condemn HBV (Doughty, 2009).
Edited by Aisha K. Gill, Carolyn Strange and Karl Roberts, Palgrave Macmillan, London and New York, 2014, 272pp., ISBN: 978-1-1372-8954-4, £70.00 (Hbk)
In a compact but powerful—and powerfully useful—book, Gill, Strange and Roberts have provided a compelling lens through which to broaden how policymakers, advocates, service providers, media and various publics around the world define, understand and respond to the global challenge of honour-based violence.
The text begins with the problem of language and definition crippling understanding and responses to honour crimes in various countries. George Orwell famously wrote in 1984 that an idea (and in turn a feeling or a belief) cannot exist without the word for it. The editors and authors of ‘Honour’ Killing and Violence: Theory, Policy and Practice start from a different place: that, in a world in which societies, economies and values systems are intermingling and converging so intensively, even a single word can contain many ideas and beliefs. Not only do the authors show us how ‘honour’ means different things to different people, families and societies, they also explain that it is undergirded by and embedded in value systems that see themselves as vastly different from each other. What this means, the authors demonstrate, is that any legal framework that seeks to dismantle values systems that use honour as a justification for committing systemic violence—and to replace it with a new, global framework—must develop a simultaneously universal and specific definition of ‘honour-based violence’.
The book’s first order of business, therefore, is to dismantle assumptions about honour and honour-based violence, and to redefine the term in such a way that enables us to view honour-based violence as part of gender-based violence generally. In turn, we may then view different types of gender-based violence as stemming from patriarchal systems of honour that exist in communities of many ethnicities, nationalities and culture. Thus, the book disentangles the reality of honour-based violence from narrow, often Islamophobic efforts to respond to such crimes.
The book also includes a carefully curated set of case studies and policy approaches illuminating different ways that countries have either allowed or limited violence in the name of honour, and how activists have or have not succeeded in raising public awareness or influencing policy. While these are useful tools for practitioners and advocates, who are presumably the target audience of this book, the conceptual framing of the text and the analysis of the various provisions lay fertile ground for future work.
When we can Instagram from the top of Kilimanjaro or tweet from the pounding heart of an anti-authoritarian uprising, the very notion of ‘remote’ seems to be a quaint relic of an older time. And yet, many media analysts have pointed out that media coverage of honour killings in the United States,1 Canada (Vatandoost, 2012) and the West (Saeed, 2014) in general is often essentialist and narrowly focused on Islam or Muslim-majority cultures. The book not only clarifies that honour-based violence can be understood as one of many forms of violence against women or of gender-based violence, it offers a logical framework within which gender-based violence in many cultures and contexts can be understood as honour-based violence. Ultimately, readers may find themselves broadening their understanding to include many cultures and contexts, including perhaps their own, among those with honour-based values systems; I certainly did.
The text also examines how feminists and women’s rights activists have taken different and sometimes contradictory positions vis-à-vis media portrayal—where some activists, particularly in diasporic communities, are much more concerned with Islamophobia and Orientalism, for example, while other feminists are comfortable openly decrying religions as a source for honour-based violence.
The book is divided into two sections: (1) Conceptual Frameworks and (2) Operationalising/Practices of Honour and Violence. The first section offers a selection of theoretical and conceptual lenses through which to understand—and broaden our understanding of—honour-based violence. The first two chapters situate honour crimes within broader contexts: the legal language of domestic violence and historic practices in Europe and North America. The fifth and sixth chapters analyse concepts of honour and dishonour within the institutions of the family and the courtroom. The latter includes a particularly meaningful discussion of how legal institutions deprive targets of honour violence of consent, an issue that has come to the fore in new analysis of data on legal child marriage in the United States (Reiss, 2015). Of particular interest is the third chapter, which offers a psychological analysis of why some individuals within certain social contexts commit honour crimes while others don’t, and can be viewed within the larger and emerging body of literature on why certain people join gangs or militant groups. These conceptual frameworks are not directly addressed in the case studies found in the second section, but if the book is read as a whole they illuminate the case studies in meaningful ways. The hope is that readers will not read selectively, but will take the time to absorb and return to this rich volume.
Practitioners and advocates familiar with the issue of honour crimes will also be familiar with many of the names and concepts in this book, but will still want to have it on their shelves because of its global perspective and its detailed case studies of advocacy and legislative efforts in places as wide-ranging as Scandinavia, India, Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom. If there is one drawback to this book it is that these concepts must make their way into wider circulation if they are to have any meaningful policy impact. Emerging scholarship on the role of media coverage in influencing policy (Baum and Potter, 2008) shows us that, contrary to earlier thinking in media studies, media, public opinion and policymaking are part of a synthetic, symbiotic interrelationship. This book still seems to work within a bidirectional model of media influence in advocacy, in which media can influence policymaking or the other way around.
In other words, although the information and ideas in this book are profound and have the power to fundamentally transform the way we view and do policymaking around honour-based crime, these ideas are often couched in technical and occasionally academic language. One would love to see these ideas conveyed in accessible, broadly appealing prose that might engage a wider range of stakeholders in this issue than legal scholars or policy theorists—especially given the book's implicit premise that we are all stakeholders in the effort to dismantle honour-based values systems and the violence they engender.
This book is sure to spark an empowering and ultimately powerful conversation among scholars and activists on the issue of honour crimes, prompting them to engagement to reframe this issue as a global one, to build strategic alliances and information-sharing among advocates in different countries, and to apply successful strategies from one country to draft and incorporate effective legislation in other countries. While concepts of honour and shame are constructed, they are still very powerful, and will be difficult to dislodge even if the rule of law attempts to do so. Still, effective advocacy is a necessary tool to construct a rule of law, and this book is a must-have in the toolkit for advocates, scholars and practitioners working on ‘honour’ crimes.
Baum, M.A. and Potter, P.B.K., 2008. The relationships between mass media, public opinion, and foreign policy: toward a theoretical synthesis. Annual Review of Political Science, 11, pp. 39–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Reiss, F., 2015. America’s child-marriage problem. The New York Times, 13 October. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/14/opinion/americas-child-marriage-problem.html?_r=0 [last accessed 13 November 2015].
Saeed, S., 2014. What the Western media gets completely wrong about honor killings. World.Mic, 2 June. Available at: http://mic.com/articles/90291/what-the-western-media-gets-completely-wrong-about-honor-killings [last accessed 13 November 2015].
Vatandoost, N., 2012. The News Coverage of Honour Killings in Canadian Newspapers. MA thesis. The Faculty of Social Science and Humanities, Criminology University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Oshawa, ON. Available at: https://ir.library.dc-uoit.ca/bitstream/10155/259/1/Vatandoost_%20Negin.pdf [last accessed 13 November 2015].
© Feminist Review 2016