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  • Technorati: graph / links

    ‘Honour’-based violence investigations up

    by Rumbold on 7th December, 2009 at 10:45 PM    

    The Met police have recorded 60% more ‘honour’-based violence (HBV) incidents in the past year than the previous one. Although these statistics seem to suggest an escalation of the problem, I suspect that instead they reflect a greater determination by the police to pursue the culprits (after the Banaz Mahmod fiasco), as well as a better classification system:

    The Metropolitan Police are tackling more suspicious incidents motivated by so-called “honour” than ever before, according to new figures. Officers recorded 256 incidents, of which 132 were criminal offences, in the year 2008-9.

    This was a surge of 60% from the 161 incidents recorded in the previous financial year, of which 93 were criminal offences. The latest figures revealed the upward trend is continuing with 211 incidents reported in the six months until October, of which 129 were offences.

    Police define honour violence, including murder, rape and kidnap, as crimes motivated by a desire to protect the honour of a family or community. Women are the most common victims of honour violence which is linked to some interpretations of cultural and religious beliefs. But “non-crimes”, where no offence has been committed, were also recorded, particularly where police believe the incident could be part of a wider picture.

    Sadly this has not been a victory for joined-up government, as the state is withdrawing funding from charities that help victims of HBV.

    Filed in: Cultural Relativism

    • A.C.
      Rumbold good blogging, fast response!

      This is good news, hopefully there will be some comment and analysis in tomorrow's papers. There is no way there has been a 60% spike in a single year, you are correct that it reflects the situation that has always existed.

      Can you imagine how many young people have been abused over the years, while certain politicians and commentators have fought to stop interference in the cultural practices of minorities?
    • Shatterface
      You should post this to Rod Liddle and show him how it's done properly.
    • Cauldron
      Sadly, as in so many other areas, the government is better at passing laws than enforcing them.

      I remember talking to some Danish friends a few years back. There was a terrible case of HBV in that country some time ago. The courts reacted by jailing not just the murderers but all those in the extended clan who'd egged on the murderers.

      Sadly, I just can't see the UK courts going down that route, even if the Met now brings more cases to prosecution.
    • Joanne Payton
      Cauldron: To be fair, the Ghazala Khan originates in a clearer understanding of HBV which is spreading across Europe: three men were imprisoned for the Banaz Mahmod murder, and more may yet join them in prison. Three men are on trial in the current Tulay Goren case. The Ghazala Khan case was readily provable through mobile phone records which showed that all the accused were at the crime scene and in constant contact. It's not always the case that there can be clear evidence of conspiracy.

      AC: On the subject of figures: I'd agree that it displays a willingness to take cases more seriously on the part of the police as well as a growing generational clash. But I also remember attending a conference where the Met predicted a rise in HBV/FM around now due to demographic changes in the Bangladeshi communities in the form a sudden boom of youngsters reaching marriageable age. I'd like to know how the stats shake down.
    • Cauldron
      Thank you Joanne. I confess my emotional reaction to the Ghazala Khan was to execute the culprits and to ban all migration from their villages of origin in perpetuity. But that's the emotional way many people react to evil. On sober reflection, a forensic, relentless legal approach with some successful high profile prosecutions is the best way to protect the innocent.
    • Reza
      I also heard about this case from Danish friends. I understand that at the end of their sentences, the entire clan will be deported back to their ancestral homeland.

      And the reason for this commonsense is these people:

      The Danish People’s Party


      “In return for their support of the present liberal/conservative government, the Danish People's Party has required a legislative effort for a strict policy towards immigrants and potential refugees.”

      If only we were so lucky.
    • halima
      Rumbold, I think there is a campaign raging in the world as we speak about raising awareness on domestic violence. I've been attending various events highlighting the nature of this violence in different parts of Asia.

      A few days ago I watched the Jonathan Ross show where Reese Witherspoon from highlighted that 2 women a week die in the UK from domestic violence. Is this right? She is leading a campaign for Avon to raise awareness, and although Amnesty as we know is doing a fine job of telling us about domestic violence, I certainly didn't know the figure were as harsh as 2 deaths in a week in the UK.

      All violence against women, in all cultures and countries, relate to prescribed norms about how men and women should be and if a woman cross the line she is punished - the norms and values in the UK and Pakistan or Turkey might vary - but one would hope one day all violence against women is utterly preventable.

      Two women a week die from domestic violence. I can't believe this is true - and if it is, this is the barbaric society that we live in - and often miss because we're used to looking at other forms of violence that take place outside the home.
    • Rumbold

      According to this there are about 2 deaths a week:


      The problem with domestic violence, is that, as you say, in takes place inside the home, so it is a lot more difficult to prove. And it is mostly a gradual process (from what I understand), with emotional abuse often coming first. Thankfully it has become less socially acceptable in this country (few would boast about 'knocking their old lady about' now), but there is still a long way to go.
    • halima
      Thanks Rumbold for clarifying there are about 2 deaths a week in the UK from domestic violence.

      "Thankfully it has become less socially acceptable in this country (few would boast about 'knocking their old lady about' now), but there is still a long way to go."

      But with 2 deaths a week, I don't think we can assume it is socially less acceptable?

      I repeat 2 deaths a week is infinitely more newsworthy than the cases of honour-based violence I hear about, and which this blog regularly highlights.

      How should we explain the phenomenally high rate of domestic violence in the UK?

      Personally i object to the term 'domestic' violence as I do to the phrase 'honour-based violence'. For me, it's violence against women, full stop.
    • Reza
      “Thanks Rumbold for clarifying there are about 2 deaths a week in the UK from domestic violence…

      …But with 2 deaths a week, I don't think we can assume it is socially less acceptable?”

      You mean “domestic violence” within the ‘indigenous’ or non-ethnic minority group don’t you?

      This kind of domestic violence is not ‘ideologically’ driven. It is not a ‘cultural’ phenomenon. There is absolutely zero tolerance and zero understanding towards those who commit acts of domestic violence from their families and ‘communities’.

      This is not the case for ‘honour’ base violence.

      HBV IS ideologically driven. It IS a cultural phenomenon. There is some level of ‘tolerance’ and ‘understanding’ of this type of violence from the families (who are more often complicit) and the communities in which this type of violence occurs.

      HBV is a form of terrorism. Some drunken white scumbag who beats their wife to death is not restoring his family’s ‘honour’. It is usually an unpremeditated crime of simple rage. And no one would be so stupid to suggest that it is seen by other women as an ‘example’ of what might happen to them if they transgress.

      HBV on the other hand is a form of terrorism. A single murder acts as a ‘message’ to the community. Of what can happen to girls who disobey their parents. A single murder terrorises countless women.

      There are times when the stench of moral relativism in these discussions becomes truly repugnant.
    • halima
      "There are times when the stench of moral relativism in these discussions becomes truly repugnant."

      Nice to see a bloke jumping up and down to show outrage against violence against women - let's get this straight - it's not cultural flipping relativism that is responsible for violence against women - it's mostly men.

      "You mean “domestic violence” within the ‘indigenous’ or non-ethnic minority group don’t you?"

      Er , I don't distinguish between indigenous and whatever because it implies some people have less rights to home and belonging than others. So, I mean women, remember, we're discussing women first.
    • Shamit

      What is repugnant is your asinine attempt to distinguish between forms of domestic violence.

      2 women dying each week in Britain at the hands of people they love and trust is simply disgusting and unacceptable. And it does not matter which ethnicity they belong to - you make it sound that somehow if a white bloke is beating up his wife and sending her to an early grave it is acceptable -

      You are not only racist but stupid and I feel offended as a bloke that you belong to the same gender as me who thinks ethnic divisions in domestic violence matter.

      There is nothing repugnant about what Halima said -- the only thing repugnant in this blog is your stupidity and racist stench. I know you don't like to get into debates with me because I like wiping the floor with you -- and you don't like that you piece of shit. So if you don't want abuse from me shut the fuck up or talk sense.

      i am getting tired of idiots trying to take over this blog. Moral relativism my ass. There are things in this world which are simply right or wrong and domestic violence without any iota of doubt falls in the later category you moron.
    • halima

      Thanks very much for your comments, of course, when someone like Reza comes along to disagree, I know I will have probably done something right in a post.

      Of coarse, my starting point is that all violence against women is wrong - and should be tackled and campaigned against through appropriate means.

      I despise the term 'honour-based violence'. I imagine this is because it actually trivializes the crime to some extent - by reducing it to some perceived cultural notions of violence and mis-justice, and by placing it outside the purview of the justice system. Those that claim to murder in the name of honour will use any clause to explain away their actions – why give it any credence or legitimacy? It's a bit like crimes of passion being used as a legal defense in some countries. Why should it matter whether a crime is pre-meditated or not, when temporary insanity is provoked? I am not saying that by inference honour crimes should be treated as a crime of passion – though I can imagine a legal attempt at it.

      I have similar attitudes to 'domestic violence' such that people often fail to stigmatize it as good old fashioned violence – because it's an argument between a couple. The law, of coarse, in many countries, still does not treat domestic violence as a criminal issue and many women's groups are campaigning to get the law changed as a first step in combating violence against women.

      Not too different from a law in Britain until recently which stipulated that a man could have forced sex with his wife and it would not be counted as 'rape' because it took place within a marriage. The inference here is of coarse that the women is the property of the man and can therefore exercise his conjugal rights over her.

      Not that different from some forms of marriage actually. The idea that man has property rights over his wife. And before him, her father.

      Of course, in many countries, women's rights to own property was a hard earned fight for equality precisely because it inferred that she was not the property of her husband of father.
    • Reza
      Well I disagree. Attitudes to domestic violence clearly have a cultural element. To say otherwise demonstrates a staggering level of denial.

      And I’d also add, religious elements, (after all, religion is a major factor in shaping culture):

      Qur’an Sura 4.34

      YUSUFALI: … As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly)…
      PICKTHAL: …As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. ...
      SHAKIR: …and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; …


      The absolute, verbatim words of Allah, no less.

      This Sura has ensured that wife beating remains socially acceptable in some Muslim communities and ‘moderate’ wife beating is even legal in some Muslim-majority countries.
    • Shamit
      Halima - Spot on with your comments and yeah if Reza comes and criticises you then you must have done something right.

      There is no honour in honour based killings but demonstrates nothing but betrayal of trust and love. How can a father kill his daughter? I don't know - how can anyone say it is for honour. You are supposed to protect, love and nurture your offspring - even animals do it. How can humans say for religion or society I killed my daughter because she chose to marry or date someone. I don't get it.
      Reza - you dumb fuck:

      Have you read the old testament - here are some examples you twat:

      Leviticus 20:1,9:

      The Lord said to Moses… "If anyone curses his father or mother, he must be put to death."

      Leviticus 27:3-7
      set the value of a male between the ages of twenty and sixty at fifty shekels [a] of silver, according to the sanctuary shekel [b] ; 4 and if it is a female, set her value at thirty shekels.

      A woman should learn in quietness and full submission.

      Timothy 2:11-12:

      12I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.

      You want to say anymore moron. You fucking islamophobe - you should be in a mental institution - you paranoid racist git.
    • Ravi Naik
      You want to say anymore moron. You fucking islamophobe - you should be in a mental institution - you paranoid racist git.

      Here is Reza doing again what he knows best. Which is to hijack any issue to demonise Muslims and multiculturalism (remember the vitamin D deficiency? Yes, he has been there and done that), this time he is accusing Muslim men of being potential wife beaters. Here is what he saying: an "indigenous" who beats a woman is a rotten individual. A Muslim who beats his wife is doing his religious cultural obligation. As a self-parody, Reza is actually doing again what he accuses the Left of doing: moral relativeness.

      As Halima pointed out and every sane person agrees, there is no moral relativeness here: violence against women is a crime, and should be persecuted regardless of who does it, and what the justifications are. PERIOD. What is so hard for you to understand, Reza?
    • Shamit
      "As a self-parody, Reza is actually doing again what he accuses the Left of doing: moral relativeness. "

      He he - spot on
    • Reza

      “You want to say anymore moron. You fucking islamophobe …”

      A “fucking islamophobe” I may be. A moron I am not. Here's how.

      The Jewish and Christian bibles are NOT considered, by the overwhelming majority of Jewish and Christian scholars, religious leaders and practicing individuals to be verbatim ‘historical tape-recordings’ of god’s voice.

      That’s why there is no debate being held anywhere, by religious scholars from the Jewish and Christian faiths, of whether, or to what extent, it is religiously allowed to beat one’s wife.

      However, this “debate” is active throughout the Middle East, as well as in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

      Indeed some countries that are operating some level of Islamic law, have relied on the sura in question to refuse to prosecute husbands guilty of ‘moderate’ wife-beating.

      That’s why, in countries like Bahrain, television stations helpfully show programmes like this, in order to teach their men-folk how not to beat their wives too hard, or in front of the children:


      I’d say that a “dumb fuck” would be someone who either ignores or denies that officially tolerated, god-sanctioned wife-beating only occurs in ‘Islamic’ countries.
    • Ravi Naik
      The Jewish and Christian bibles are NOT considered, by the overwhelming majority of Jewish and Christian scholars,...Indeed some countries that are operating some level of Islamic law

      It is totally irrelevant whether Islamic Law is practised in other countries. Your case is about Muslims in this country. We operate under secular law which dictates that violence against women is a crime. So, I have yet to understand your point. Are you insinuating that naive-moral-relativist-multiculturalists allow Muslims to beat their wives because its their religious obligation?
    • Shamit

      You like being proved a moron. Ravi already has replied and I agree with him

      Now Mr. islamophobe - majority of the muslims in this country ie Britain are law abiding citizens and are no different to most people living here. Yet, the statistics still suggest that 2 women are killed every week in this country as a result of domestic violence.

      And it is clear at least to people who are not morons that the vast majority of the perpetrators who abuse their partners in this country are Not Muslims

      We are discussing that on this thread - so your point about Muslims in Saudi Arabia, baharin or Iran is simply not relevant.

      “dumb fuck” would be someone who either ignores or denies that offically tolerated, god-sanctioned wife-beating only occurs in ‘Islamic’ countries.

      Again how the fuck is this relevant to this discussion moron? You are really a fucking moron aren't you.

      Now did you do some reading -- I am surprised you do not call yourself Reginald Wanker the First - it would be so appropriate.

      Get off this blog quickly -- and don't come back until you have learnt something - otherwise this is the treatment you are going to get from me.
    • Reza
      Oh for fuck’s sake!

      From the article above:
      “…Women are the most common victims of honour violence which is linked to some interpretations of cultural and religious beliefs.”

      Of course HBV has cultural and religious elements!

      On top of this we have sites like this, supporting organizations such as IKWRO and Southall Black Sisters, both organisations whose whole raison d’etre is to address the issue of HBV within specific ethnic communities.

      And yet, Halima makes a statement like this:

      “Personally i object to the term 'domestic' violence as I do to the phrase 'honour-based violence'. For me, it's violence against women, full stop.”

      With a clear implication that there’s no distinction between ‘domestic’ and ‘honour based’ violence.

      I think that this is a sickening bit of moral relativism that not only undermines the efforts of the organizations trying to raise awareness of HBV, but badly lets down the thousands of women who are victims of HBV and a crying out for it to be acknowledged by our society.

      And then people like you; in your eagerness to take the opposite side of an argument from mine, also deny that there is a cultural or religious element to HBV.

      You surprise me. Despite the fact that I find many of your view abhorrent, (as no doubt you do mine) I believed you had more integrity than that.
    • halima

      25th Nov is the UN international day on Eliminating Violence Against Women, hence all the media attention a few weeks ago.

      Amazing to this day and age how common violence against women is across different parts of the world - and what really shocks me, is that I associated abuse and violence against women as something to be found in countries with poor education systems and weak laws enforcing women's rights. This is not the case, and this is what I can't quite square in my head.

      I am genuinely interested in this debate, and not in demonising countries where such violence takes place, but even now, I am reading this best seller called The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and it opens by stating a third of women in Sweden will have been threatened by a man . Sweden - that country with the world's best education system?

      I just don't get it - how can violence against women be so common? I know many girlfriends who have been in quite violent relationships at some point in their lives. Why and how?
    • douglas clark

      There has been some debate around here that the expression 'Honour Based Violence' is perhaps something of a mixed signal. The fact that some other expression for it, such as Disgustingly Nasty Clan Violence, hasn't been accepted into the mainstream means we are stuck with it.

      I can sympathise with Halima, because it seperates out one form of violence as if it were entitled to special treatment, or understanding, when it most certainly should not. But that is not to deny it's reality, that it is just another 'excuse' for a violent society to excuse it's own conduct, much along the lines of 'he looked at me funny'. Dealing with it, through the groups you mention and through society at large should not be viewed as condoning it in any way whatsoever.
    • Reza
      “What is repugnant is your asinine attempt to distinguish between forms of domestic violence.”

      “And it is clear at least to people who are not morons that the vast majority of the perpetrators who abuse their partners in this country are Not Muslims.”

      No, but it does appear that killing their partners in order to restore family ‘honour’ is a distinguishable form of domestic violence that proportionally affects certain ‘communities’ far more than others, does it not?

      Namely ‘communities’ with a ‘Muslim’ culture?


      “So-called "honour"-based violence differs from domestic violence in that it is often perpetrated by more than one individual, from the victim's own family or wider community. It is most usually directed towards young women, although this is not always the case: men have also been victims...”



      “Police believe there may be as many as 12 honour killings in the UK every year. They will typically occur within Asian and Middle Eastern families when a person is believed to have 'dishonoured' their loved ones.”


      But carry on insisting that HBV is just "another form domestic violence".

      And that it isn’t over represented in the Muslim population.

      However, rudely you wish to do so.
    • Rumbold

      Domestic violence against women has become less socially acceptable, in the sense it is not talked about openly. I agree that is still a major problem. There are a number of reasons why it still happens: arrogance, violent tendencies, low expectations, the gradual increase of abuse.
    • Don
      HBV (for want of a better term) exists in communities where certain conditions prevail. First is male dominance and an unquestioning belief in patriarchal authority, combined with paranoia about female sexuality. The belief that the individual's rights must be subordinate to the group or family. Extreme sensitivity to perceived insult and the conviction that physical violence is an appropriate response. A lack of belief in - or trust in - the social contract between citizen and state. A belief that being seen to lack control over the family is to be seen as weak, leading to at best a loss of status and at worst being perceived as easy prey.

      Where these are present there will very likely be a measure of acceptance - implicitly or explicitly - that the patriarch of a family has a right to deal with unimportant (i.e. female) members of that family as he sees fit.

      I think that is probably true regardless of which religion the perpetrator espouses. Until relatively recently these attitudes and the violence they engender were accepted in parts of the (mainly catholic) eastern Med and still exist today in parts of South America. Neither Sikhs nor Hindus are, I think, completely free from this.

      Reza is right to the extent that at the moment these values are more likely to be found among some moslem communities, but only those which originate in places where those values are still held. (I doubt if it is such a problem among moslems from Indonesia or Malaysia where that attitude was not already prevalant.) He is wrong where he goes on to imply that it is unique to or inherent in Islam. Not only wrong but also counter-productive as by attempting to suborn every issue to support his simplistic analysis he turns it into a finger pointing exercise towards a massive and diverse group, the vast majority of whom are as disgusted by this behaviour as anybody else. Not helpful.

      Certainly religion can be used to justify such practices and in many cases the religion as taught can foster them. As is so often the case with barbaric behaviour of various kinds. To be fair, sometimes religion can be instrumental in moving people away from such behaviour but that seems to happen only after the society itself has started to move on.

      Certainly the extent to which religious leaders condone or fail to explicitly condemn these behaviours should be examined, but the change that is really needed goes deeper than that.

      My first instinct is to say that the answer lies in educating women and giving them the chance to define themselves as other than chattel, but I am aware that that very process can trigger the violence.
    • MiriamBinder
      Honour based killings are different from domestic violence. Domestic violence ending in death is often at the end of a protracted length of time where a gradual increase both in scope and severity of domination is a clear benchmark. Honour based killings are often more akin to 'contract killings'. It would only serve to muddy the waters for both honour based killings and domestic violence if the two were to be put on the same statute.

      Another mayhaps minor but nonetheless significant point ... to consider domestic violence as purely a 'violence against women' issue is misleading ... Some men have been victims of domestic violence and some women have been perpetrators of domestic violence.
    • douglas clark

      I think we both agree about the source of what is now called Honour Based Violence. It is a relic of a patriarchal society. I recall my own childhood having tales of:

      'Ye wouldnae want tae mix with them Fenians'.

      Not that my parents were anything like as gross as that, but you get the idea. It was pretty prevelant.

      Whereas our biology was saying something else.

      The reason I support the likes of the IKWRO is because no-one should be subject to this sort of dead leg control.

      We get fairly frequent visitors around here from the wilder reaches of Islamisist bullshit, and their cousins on the extreme right.

      These days, I can see nothing between them.

      I do not believe in stoning people to death. In fact I don't believe in the death penalty.

      I do not believe in excusing the Holocaust, and I think people that do are whackaloons.

      I do not believe that it matters whether you can trace your ancestry to this dod of soil back to last week or a thousand years ago. What we can all do is trace ourselves back to this planet.

      I do believe that the entire internet is riddled with one issue, screaming at the moon lunatics.

      I do believe that most folk, if they met, and talked and shit, would get on OK.

      I do believe most Muslims are nowhere near the Steven Gash image of them. Nor, in fact, the Reza image of them.

      I do believe that this place, Pickled Politics can see off these folk, although I do recall a complete homophobic that used to comment on a site I liked five years ago, when on a flyby recently, was still spouting the same shit.

      It is, frankly, hard work to pull up enough evidence to tell cjcjc that his new hero Nils Axel-Morner has, perhaps feet of clay. It is harder yet to argue from my experience, which is that the Muslims I know are OK people and are not about to impose Sharia Law tommorrow, when the likes of Steven Gash gets a far too easy ride around here.

      Reza is the monkey with the keyboard. Once in a while Reza says something that resonates. But that does not really justify all the bum notes.....

    • Ravi Naik
      I think that this is a sickening bit of moral relativism that not only undermines the efforts of the organizations trying to raise awareness of HBV, but badly lets down the thousands of women who are victims of HBV and a crying out for it to be acknowledged by our society.

      Given the fact that HBV happens in specific Muslim and non-Muslim communities, and most British Muslims are disgusted by these news... can you explain to me why are you making the case that Islam actually condones domestic violence by bring up out-of-context Koran quotes and what happens in other countries? You just keep on hijacking issues to demonise all British Muslims and people you do not like - this has nothing to do with protecting women.

      This is the sort of half-arsed Islamophobia that I am against, not the discussion of whether HBV should carry a heavier penalty than domestic violence - it is a pity that you actually did make a good point when you said that such killings do send a message to the community, but you soon soaked it with your bigotry.

      Here is a sincere suggestion. Do try JihadWatch - you will find an audience that will be very receptive to your Mel Philips worldview, and your self-declared inside experience of Islam. And it is a good place to rant about moral relativism, third world defective cultures, rotten multiculturalism, the end of Europe, non-white conspiracy to destroy Britain to revenge against colonialism, and other demons that populate your world. And I wish you well.
    • douglas clark
      Ravi Naik,

      Reza does this all the time. If he is losing on a domestic front, he dives for an Arab front. Or an international front, even...

      This gives him the wriggle room that he requires.

      If one were to say that you knew a Muslim, and that Muslim was, say, a Green, then that would not be enough.

      If you said you knew lots of Muslims, and they were not, say, particularily interested in the Ummah, that would not be enough.

      If you said you had friends that knew lots more Muslims than you did and they said, hey!, these people just want to get on with their lives, then, that would not be enough.

      If you said, y'know, I've read people that say they are Muslims and they don't seem too itchy bitchy frightening - like Kenan Malik - then that would not be enough.

      If you play the media however, you can forget all of that.

      What is the point of actually trying to understand folk, when we have our very own contemptible Reza to tell us exactly and precisely what every Muslim thinks.

      For he knows.

      All hail Reza!
    • halima
      Don, nice response to what is obviously a shameful phenomenon, though again, you rightly point out such violence takes place in countries where men's authority is sacrosanct - and where there is fear of sexuality. You've hit the nail on its head for me - which is that violence against women is always linked to the perceived sense of male dominance being threatened - and like all countries, linked to a perpetual fear of sexuality, ONE must control it, otherwise we've lost control of ourselves. Scratch any problem deep enough and sex is at the root of it all - and because on the whole women are associated with being able to have sex with men, they're considered the root of all evil. the Fallen Woman, Eve etc.

      In terms of what helps to curb the violence is varied, but what I am hearing from many organisations stepping up their own game to stop violence against women, is more work with men, or what they term as Male Involvement in Ending Violence Against Women. It's also often men who have at some time being hit at home by their own parents as children.

      Interestingly, the global downturn, too, has led to an increase in violence against women, many men who have lost their jobs in the downturn have resorted to violence at home. I don't think it's men with violent tendencies, it's men whose perceived roles as breadwinners have disappeared and where they cannot quite handle the fact that men/women's roles are changing in societies.
    • halima

      Apologies if this is already on PP readers' radar...

      I can't help linking this book which is an absolutely fantastic read ( albeit very disturbing and violent) and I basically read this book in a day and didn't go to sleep at night until I finished it. Among other things it's about men's violence against women - and has some sick comments from religious texts if anyone is interested. But most of all a great punk heroine in the making. The Guardian review doesn't do justice to the complexity of the book .
    • MiriamBinder
      Halim, whilst in no way attempting to diminish the horror of men's violence against women neither domestic violence nor honour killings are solely a men against women issue.


      As with honour killings, male victims are there despite being largely overlooked by most.
    • A.C.
      Can I make an observation about the tone of debate on this blog?

      So if you don't want abuse from me shut the fuck up or talk sense.

      Reza - you dumb fuck...

      You want to say anymore moron. You fucking islamophobe - you should be in a mental institution - you paranoid racist git.

      Again how the fuck is this relevant to this discussion moron? You are really a fucking moron aren't you.

      Is this really acceptable?
    • halima
      Miriam Binder

      You're right of course, and you highlighted this point earlier in your post, thanks for the reminder. I imagine, for men, too , it would be incredibly difficult to report domestic violence against men.
    • MiriamBinder
      I personally am of the opinion that as long as we tend to focus on gender the issues, whether domestic violence or honour killings will get bogged down with the far more general topic of gender politics. Whilst I accept and concur that gender politics is an important issue I cannot help but feel that to allow it to become enmeshed in the discussion of violence between people does, the an extent take away some of the attention from what is really the issue. Which is that there are individuals who are being dominated and coerced by either the act or the fear of violence against their person by an/other individual/s.

      Further the tendency to concentrate on gender politics tends to drive most attempts at legislation and regulations by the various authorities which can led to the undesirable and unforeseen consequence were a given victim or potential perpetrator may not be able to access appropriate support services or find the process of finding appropriate support services complicated by their not satisfying a basic requirement; such as being of the perceived appropriate gender.

      Another thought has just occurred to me ... Are we not in fact supporting the very social structures that empower the paternalistic/gender political views that create the climate for domestic violence/honour killings by persisting in viewing gender as a significant factor?

      I recoil in horror at learning of yet another death by brutal violence not because it is the death of a female/child/male/animal but because it is the senseless death by violence of yet another sentient being. And it is a humane human being that I recoil ... not as a mother/female/animal lover.
    • halima
      Miriam Binder

      I guess you'll be in good company with many folks who won't want to focus on the inequality between the sexes as one a major contributory factor in explaining violence against women. I sympathise with your perspective.

      Except , though, patriarchy is just that no? Maintaining the the superiority of one (male) sex over another? In other words , it's a gender differentiated form of power - patriarchy? Unless you are arguing that there are more than two genders - and that patriarchy assumes only two?

      I am guessing you're aware of this and so i am now wondering whether I have understood your comments?

      Somewhere earlier I was trying to argue that both 'honour-killings' and domestic violence ought be treated as pure and sadistic violence.

      I personally don't feel more emotion at hearing about the death of a woman because i am a woman, but I do feel uneasy, say, to pick Sweden as an example, that 46% of women in that country have been subjected to violence by a man. I cannot believe in this day and age women are still subject to fly-by violence of this kind just because they are women. The whole basis of this violence is to control and manipulate and feel stronger than the person who is being hurt ( I refuse to use the word victim, because somewhere like you, I think you fight patriarchy in different forms - and language and symbolism is one way). But i do feel terribly sad and angry that far too many women i know will have suffered violence at the hands of a man at some point in their lives - often linked to relationships and marriage, and all in the UK as this is the only country I know. Far too many women I know will have been groped and attempts will be made on them of some kind of a sexual nature - and when rejected, it's ended in violence and intimidation at home or in public spaces.

      I can't separate the gender dimension to such violence.

      I share your concerns that by purely focusing on women's issues we might miss out on what is even more of a hidden phenomenon that affects men in violent relationships, but that is not an argument for losing a gender perspective. Equally third-gender individuals might be losing out on a range of services that are aimed at men and women.
    • Ravi Naik
      Halima, I was not aware that Sweden had a massive problem with domestic violence.
    • MiriamBinder
      I suppose Halima that yes, I am aware that there are more then two genders; trans-gender both pre- and post-operative, hermaphrodite and androgynous. There is also the issue of same sex relationships. But no, that was not my primary concern in wanting to remove gender political terminology from the discussion. I think your well constructed and well argued posts throughout this discussion possibly illustrate my primary concern along with some of the other posts raised by other contributors.

      A slight side trip might possibly illustrate it even better. This evening, having returned my granddaughter to her mother I switched on the radio as I drove back home. I caught the tail end of an interview with a pro-abortion MD. He stressed that by repeatedly referring to the woman presenting herself for an abortion as a mother you are effectively debating from the values as represented by the pro-lifers. A woman does not in effect become a mother until a child has been born (or adopted).

      I agree that there is an overwhelmingly larger number of perpetrators from one gender and an equally overwhelmingly larger number of prey (accepting your reason for refusing to use the word victim) of the other gender. I also accept that patriarchy as a normative value has without a doubt a bearing when viewing the matter in a generalised way. I further doubt me not that from a purely statistical stance this may well have some significant relevance.

      It may be my age however I remember when women were by and large invisible in public discourse purely because of the language used. I would heartily abhor the notion of being a party to effectively making men invisible in a public discourse purely as a result of the language used.

      This discussion was initiated by an article on the perceived increase in potential 'honour killings' with the focus being on female sacrifices to familial honour; effectively nullifying the existence of male sacrifices to familial honour and making these invisible.
      It veered into domestic violence where again it focused on female prey to male domination; and once more effectively making invisible male prey and female domination. To further complicate matters it also makes it difficult to see female prey to female domination and likewise male prey to male domination with the latter two being primarily, though not exclusively, from within same gender relationships.

      To further complicate matters, by casting the public discourse in terms of gender politics and more specifically in terms of patriarchal values we are effectively disregarding, mainly because of the invisibility, that the issue of domestic violence is primarily an issue of domination by force, regardless of gender.

      Which is possibly the only shared value that exists between honour killings and domestic violence.
    • halima
      Thanks Ravi for linking what is a really good article highlighting this problem and it's universality:

      "It's not alcoholics and drug users, and it's not people that are put out from the society," Schyman said. "It's every man and in every class of society."

      "This is the biggest human rights issue of our time, and it is not something to be kept hidden,"

      Amnesty: "The prevalence of gender-based violence shatters many people's image of Sweden as being the most gender equal country in the world."

      I'd picked Sweden out because it stands out in my mind as one of the progressive countries for gender equality and I wanted therefore to highlight how common/prevalent and complicated such violence is - it ain't simply about educating people and such violence will go away. I'd cited a novel because I (sadly) live in the world of fiction than real life most of the time, but actually this novel is striking for bringing out the problem in Sweden - Girl with a Dragon Tattoo is selling more copies than Harry Potter in some parts of Europe. So hopefully its reach will bring the issue more directly in people's faces when they're reading on buses and trains.
    • halima
      Miriam Binder

      Thanks for the explanation, and setting out clearly what is, I agree, more complicated than just casting a gender perspective. Your illustration about pro-lifers using language and starting-point as a mother to further their cause, and thereby deliberately being emotive, is a good example.

      Males are also the subject of violence. Agreed.

      I don't think I disagree with much of what you say, though perhaps I am choosing to distinguish gender as a cause /explanation for such violence over others? It's probably a political choice.

      But I think where violence against women ( and men) exist it is usually related to some form of transgression of social norms - whatever these social norms might be, more usually than not, gender-based social norms seem to be an organising principle in society. Such social norms are relaxing, but they're still there.

      Honour above all is gained or lost, through a societal process, or to put it simply, you acquire it through society. Men's status in society is gained through society. Women's responsibility to uphold honour or lose it, is judged through society. Women are usually given overwhelming responsibility to maintain and uphold honour - for the family, the kinship, and ultimately for the nation. This is why gender-based violence is so common in times of war, because ultimately men feel they can incur more than just random violence by raping women. It sends more than a signal of violence. Going back to childhood fights - the surest way to upset a boy (or girl, but in my experience boys take more offence) is to call his mother something. Breaking social norms is of course at the root of prejudice against same-sex relationships - because they've just upset the moral order of things we ( the straight we) are used to.

      Few would try and argue against you that violence isn't always about domination by force, regardless of gender, but there might be feminists amongst us who would argue, that such domination by force is precisely what's happening to dominate women - ultimately to preserve the power of men. It's a much more subtle and ritualised process than we assume - supported by hundreds of years of tradition and precedent in law courts, through to social attitudes about how to bring up little boys and girls when they're in nappies and pressure on women to make relationships work, get on with their in-laws, take time off work, etc etc.

      I''ve jumped from brute force and domination to subtle ways to dominate women (quite a big leap)- but in relationships of intimacy/dependency, you don't have to hit a women/partner to get them to comply.

      Thanks for the engagement, it's certainly making me think harder about how to get to closer to stumping out the problem and as you say, there's nothing worse than perpetuating the very problem you're trying to get rid of.
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