Patriarchy, Culture And Violence Against Women. Criminal Justice Responses To Honour Based Violence In The United Kingdom
A Qualitative, Theoretical And Empirical Analysis
Master's Thesis 2014 87 Pages
Chapter 1: A Brief Background into Honour Based Violence
Chapter 2: A Glance At Criminal Justice Responses To Date
Chapter 3: Methodology
Chapter 4: A Theoretical Stance on The Implementation of Criminal Justice Responses
Chapter 5: Conclusion and Recommendations
To my mother, whose unwavering support is like no other, thank you for letting me grow as I so wish. Your (sometimes) kind words and guiding light keep me grounded and focused.
To my grandmother, whose quick wit keeps me laughing as much as I do when you call me an “oddity”.
To my good friends Lasa, Maria, Kulsum and Nafisah, with whom I share a part of me, thank you for helping me to forget harsh reality once in a while, for those interesting conversations that make me think and reflect, and most importantly reminding me that life is to be enjoyed, not endured.
To my siblings, Wasim, Amal and Aziz, thanks for poking fun at me every opportunity you get whilst simultaneously showing appreciation and gratitude for all that I am, the feelings are mutual, even if I am convinced I'm adopted (I am getting a DNA test).
To Molly and Mogwai, both of you are irreplaceable, a comfort and a constant source of joy.
To the women who so graciously gave up their time, and a part of their lives, in speaking to me about their experiences, you are all strong, inspirational and beautiful individuals. I wish you nothing but the best.
To Dr. Matthew Millings, without whom this would not be possible, thank you for your belief in me as a student and as an individual.
To all, if I haven’t said it enough already, thank you so very, very much.
“I have never had to look up a definition of honour. I knew instinctively what it was. It is something I had the day I was born, and I never had to question where it came from or by what right it was mine. If I was stripped of my honour, I would choose death as certainly and unemotionally as I clean my shoes in the morning. Honour is the presence of God in man.”
- General Bentley Durrell, The Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy (1980: 46).
ACPO - Association of Chief Police Officers
BME - Black and Minority Ethnic
CPS - Crown Prosecution Service
FGM - Female Genital Mutilation
FM - Forced Marriage
GBV - Gender Based Violence
HBV - Honour Based Violence
LGBT - Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community
UK - United Kingdom
UN - United Nations
VAW - Violence Against Women
This thesis employs qualitative methods to examine the subjective experiences of 9 South Asian females in the United Kingdom, all with varying exposure to honour based violence and the criminal justice system. Recurrent themes emerge from their accounts to suggest that abusive acts arise out of a multiplicity of cultural circumstances influenced by power and gender relations. Interdisciplinary theoretical analysis in the discourses of criminology, criminal justice, sociology, law, cultural studies, psychology and political science compliment the research, with the interplay between contradictory discourses neo-liberalism and neo-conservatism demonstrating how the volatile and pensive climates of multiculturalism embedded in contemporary issues of terrorism, sexuality and patriarchy, fracture social relations in the dichotomy of belonging and identity. The notion of honour is also explored, seen both as a tool to constrain women's self-determination and independence, and as a catalyst for violence when notions of family and community norms are challenged by women. Case descriptions from the UK are employed to illuminate how the concept of honour is used in practice, as well as highlighting problems with accountability and the lack of civil and criminal remedies that fail to provide women with adequate protection whilst covertly legitimating male violence. Recommendations based on findings include holistic responses in the provision of training for criminal justice bodies, the creation of guidelines and legislation specific to honour based violence, and the development of specialist voluntary services.
Criminal Justice, Gender, Honour, Minority, Multiculturalism, Patriarchy, Policy, UK, Violence
“Mine honour is my life; both grow in one. Take honour from me, and my life is done”.
- Richard II,William Shakespeare(Act 1, Scene 1: 182-183).
As a rapidly expanding area of interest in various topical domains such as psychology, multiculturalism, feminism, politics, gender and criminal justice, honour based violence (HBV) is one of many subsets of the wider global issue of violence against women (Heise et al., 1994), and perhaps more starkly than any other contemporary cultural-legal category, it poses the dilemmas and tensions between modernity and tradition, secularism and religion, gender and patriarchy; all of which unravel within normative expectations, class, hierarchy and privilege, to significantly affect political work in a transnational world (Abu- Lughod, 2011; Strid et al., 2013). HBV, as a polymorphous interpretive phenomenon, has emerged as a robust category implicated in projects that include the policing and exclusion of immigrants, dominance by specific national, ethnic, or class groups, the manipulation of liberal values in the service of assertions of western superiority, and justifications of international intervention and transnational governance in the name of women's rights (Abu- Lughod, 2011: 19).
Questions of justice feature prominently in transitional societies concerned with the ubiquitous phenomena of gender violence and violence against women, and whilst criminal justice policy has evolved significantly over the past two decades, informed by political activism and widespread research from divergent and competing perspectives inherent within a multicultural framework, there somehow remains an enduring legacy of trivialisation and ineffectiveness in criminal justice response mechanisms for ethnic minorities in post 9/11 Britain (Bettinson and Dingwall, 2012; Walby, 2004). The adoption of multiculturalism within British policy has resulted in inadequate transitional justice procedures that have served to overlook victims, perpetuate power and gender inequalities, normalise violence against women and sustain conflict between purported British liberalism and cultural imperialism (Dustin and Phillips, 2008; Hudson, 2009; Westlund, 1999). But further than this, we see violence and victimisation discourses rooted within a culture of blame; artfully produced to intertwine with acts of routinisation and dehumanisation that are foreign to the western status quo. Suspicion, racism and discrimination continue to transcend even more so in the post 9/11 and 7/7 era, where the construction of terrorism (and the subsequent intensification of wider surveillance and control) has allowed a brand of multiculturalism to flourish which operates to further oppress and demonise already disadvantaged minority groups (Beckett and Macey, 2001; Hague et al., 2012). Resulting ill informed and polarised debates concerning immigration, and in turn gender equality, have seen policy initiatives wrongly focusing upon the tightening of immigration controls, doing very little, if anything at all, to address violence against women (Day and Vandiver, 2000; Sen, 2005).
The dominance of multiculturalism in British criminal justice policy has not only negatively influenced the domains of gender and ethnicity, but arguably facilitated a socio-political climate where the subordination of girls and women is allowed to occur more covertly within a framework of ostensible commitment to equality and the ‘war on terror’ (Epstein, 2007; Harris, 2000; Meetoo and Mirza, 2007; Verkuyten and Martinovic, 2006). This has coincided with a greater willingness (by politicians as well as media) to challenge practices represented as oppressive to women; the centralised drive towards multiculturalism has undoubtedly functioned to privilege ethnicity over gender, isolating violence against women as exceptional, rather than continuous, in culturally diverse social spaces. The repercussions are notably embedded in the high profile cases of Banaz Mahmod and Shafilea Ahmed (see Appendix A) that not only exemplify a failure of criminal justice frameworks to investigate honour crimes with impartiality and resolution, but raise questions about the limits of multicultural tolerance in the UK, fuelling the current populist punitive climate of risk and anti-multiculturalism (Dustin and Phillips, 2008; Walker, 2012). It is crucial, therefore, to underline the universality of violence against women and its causes as we are increasingly observing a worrying trend towards singling out certain types of violence and essentialising certain cultures as the source of the problem (Gill, 2008; Mythen and Walklate, 2006; Okin, 1999).
Unsurprisingly, honour crimes strain the limits of “generic” models of risk assessment, which tend to be modelled on the expectations of violence within heterosexual partnered relations, and thus needs to be supplemented to address the unique permutations of violence in specific communities (Anderson, 2008; Rose et al., 2011). The wealth of robust quantitative and qualitative data that underpins actuarial risk assessment methodologies is meagre, unattainable primarily due to HBV’s clandestine nature, the seemingly low prevalence of such crimes across the population, and the sidelining by more mainstream topics such as domestic violence (Payton, 2014). The current lack of empirical evidence within the UK means that policies embedded within criminal justice fail to deal with the specific problem of HBV, reflecting the inadequacy of governmental responses in addressing the general problem; namely the gendered context in which the abuse of women occurs. The experiences of victimised women are often overlooked or inadequately addressed by justice mechanisms that are seen to offer a simplistic, blanket ‘solution’ to a complex and difficult issue that requires a more sensitive and nuanced response. Undoubtedly, there is a need for research to elicit information from victims about the effectiveness of current policy and practice, if nothing else, to reflect the inherent complexities surrounding the interaction within minority groups, and between these communities, the public and the state.
Exploring the effectuality of criminal justice policy to facilitate an explanation for (what can be interpreted as) a marginalised crime is not a new phenomenon. However, in this particular category it is an unexplored dimension - specifically because it is the pluralities of culture, identity and association within HBV, the broader contexts of gender violence and violence against women and the inadequacy of the criminal justice system that are under question. The study will traverse beyond the boundaries of criminology and criminal justice towards an engagement with sociology, political science and cultural studies, disentangling the perceptions and reality of HBV that operate within a British multicultural framework. The following literature will embed interdisciplinary issues such as culture, power, gender hierarchies, conformity and social norms to see how all these dimensions, both autonomously and combined, contribute to the continuous injustice of female victims of HBV and subsequently operate to establish violence against women as acceptable. Links will be drawn between dominant expressive attitudes, the general ignorance or side-lining of violence against women in ethnic minority communities and how these factors, when tied together, prove destructive to the proper administration of justice - an area where culture and gender remain intrinsically negative frameworks.
Through the investigation of overlapping themes such as heteronormative patriarchy, multiculturalism, power divisions, and the examination of their relevance to HBV and violence against women, the research plays a pivotal role that may inform prevention models, and possibly unearth improvements for criminal justice and multiagency mechanisms. Aside from the potential to provide important realisations for the unconscious impacts that undermine the fairness and rationality in a criminal justice system expected to deliver safety and security, the research will illuminate reasons as to why HBV should be taken more seriously within a British multicultural society; not sidelined by reductionist and deterministic ideologies or blanketed by what appears to be failing criminal justice responses. In its endeavours, this dissertation will uncover the forces that produce and maintain honour based crime; the elements of social behaviour, compliance and regulatory practices that animate it; the forms of modern state and transnational power the category occludes; and the ahistorical and divisive civilisational thinking it encourages (Feldman, 2010: 306). Consideration will be given to the political agenda of government policies and responses and the varied ways in which institutional and customary practices may work together, or in opposition, to shape people's lives and choices. It will compliment previous work on HBV seeking to take into account individual, subjective experiences and cultural obligations to uncover the objective realities and the complexity of power relations within a social world shaped by the interplay of structural, cultural and institutional factors. Sufficient attention will be given to particular social movements and the ways in which individuals perceive and inhabit their own identities, without leaving untouched the subject’s understanding of oppression, agency and empowerment. Theoretical and empirical debate will consider how the unequal position of women and ideologies of male superiority contribute to the normative use of violence against women in general, and honour based crimes committed against women in particular (Faqir, 2001).
It is important from the offset to clarify that whilst this thesis will primarily be focusing on violence against women, the research remains respectful of the idea that both patriarchal and culture systems (to be discussed) have not only been obstacles to women suffering from violence but that they remain a societal problem of both sexes (Heise et al., 1994). The research in no way attempts to minimise the levels of violence experienced by men in both hetero- and homosexual relationships, in minority or majority cultures, but instead simply chooses to focus its attention on an equally pressing and prevalent matter.
The following thesis employs qualitative methods to answer the research questions listed below:
How effective is UK criminal justice policy in dealing with Honour Based Violence?
How do honour crimes operate within the wider contexts of gender violence and violence against women?
What are the implications of culture, and in turn multiculturalism, for women experiencing violence in minority communities within the United Kingdom?
“What is honour? A word. What is in that word“honour”? What is that“honour”? Air. A trim reckoning.”
- Henry IV,William Shakespeare(Act 5, Scene 1: 133-135)
A Brief Background Into Honour Based Violence
Honour Based Violence (HBV) is a form of intimate, intra-familial (agnatic, spousal, occasionally community based) behaviour that infringes upon personal liberties through a collection of practices that encompass a broad range of social, financial, emotional and physically abusive and coercive acts in order to protect and uphold a value system predicated on norms and traditions concerned with honour (ACPO, 2008; Gill and Brah, 2013; Wikan, 2008). Given that, legally, there is no definitive explanation of what encompasses an honour crime, the thesis has adopted the above jigsaw definition sourced from government institutions, scholars and not for profit support service interpretations, all of which share common descriptive features.
Though documented within the UK under the framework of domestic violence, HBV can be distinguished through distinctive attributes. Honour, unsurprisingly, is the driving force of the crime, one that is predominantly, but not exclusively, committed against women with some degree of approval and militarisation of family and/or community members who collude to keep hidden the true extent of the offence (Begikhani et al., 2010; Gill, 2009). It is worth noting that although men are the main perpetrators of honour crimes, women are not excluded from exercising and carrying this form of violence. Some of the more prominent examples identified are the extremities of murder, forced marriage, domestic abuse, female genital mutilation, child abuse, rape, kidnapping, false imprisonment, threats to kill, assault, harassment and forced abortion (Begikhani, 2005; Faqir, 2001; Sen, 2005; Welchman and Hossain, 2005). Figure one below, extracted from a publication by Resolution (2012), provides a more descriptive account of the numerous ways in which HBV can be manifested, all of which violate the Human Rights Act 1998.
Physical abuse This can involve parents, siblings, husbands and in-laws in terms of an extended family and /or community. Physical abuse covers a vast spectrum from threats of physical violence, up to and including acid attacks and murder.
Financial abuse Controlling the income of the victim, many will be refused access to any money, even in some cases their own earnings, in order to maintain control and dependency.
Sexual abuse Where there has been Forced Marriage there is often criminal behaviour such as kidnap and abduction, false imprisonment, administering noxious substances (to ensure compliance) and rape. There have been cases of victims having been drugged as part of an abduction both within the UK and to remove victims from the UK for the purposes of marriage.
Emotional abuse To the victim and to a third party. Threats of harm to the victim can include family members, both here and in the countries of origin, criticism and humiliation of the victim, enforced servitude by way of unpaid work either in family businesses or within the home, sometimes referred to as a form of domestic slavery. This abuse can involve the victim’s children being removed from her care to be cared for by another member of the extended family. Emotional abuse can include threats by the perpetrator to harm themselves (i.e. I will kill myself if you do not marry him or her). They can include shaming in front of the entire community. Removing from school or education, controlling freedom of movement up to and including house arrest, preventing the victim from learning English, preventing professionals from having any individual contact with the victim. In the case of incoming spouses, threatening to have incoming spouses deported to the country of origin- often these threats will include removal of the victim’s children, control over the victim’s visa status, use of black magic by way of amulets, potions or spells to exert control over the victim.
Figure One: Categorical Descriptions of Honour Based Violence
Honour (based) crime and honour (based) violence are, for the most part, used as interchangeable concepts (Kulczycki and Windle, 2011:1147) the terms are often met with abhorrence and considerable scepticism, the pervasive discomfort evident from the number of authors who use quotation marks when referring to ‘honour’, the crimes themselves considered morally degenerate. The blatant violation of basic notions of human dignity and morality, as well as international norms and conventions, makes it difficult, particularly for those within western civilisation, to accept that the seemingly tribal tradition of honour killing still exists in the twenty first century (Gallagher and Parrott, 2011; Ruane, 2000). Though it may serve to think of HBV as a contemporary crime with anachronistic tendencies, the expression of violence itself has transcended through all timely social and cultural contexts with respect to the instrumental goals that motivate it (Jones and Ferguson, 2009). The notion of honour within violence is distinctive because it is openly expressed and is used as much in a structural capacity, for the organisation of communities, as it is in the context of cultural identity (Brandon and Hafez, 2008; Eshareturi et al., 2014).
The Construction of Honour
Though it is beyond the scope of this project to fully dissect the various conceptualisations of honour, some examination is necessary to ascertain an understanding of the gendered nature of the behaviour, and any overlapping of broader concepts that operate within the normative universe where law, gender and cultural narrative are inseparably related (discussed more fully in chapters two and four).
First and foremost, the notion of honour is not specifically synonymous with a particular culture or society, despite media coverage suggesting otherwise (Ruane, 2000). The British media has sought to render the practice intelligible to certain minority groups, through references to the backwardness and barbarism of HBV, the prevalence of human rights atrocities against women in Pakistan, and discourses about primitive manifestations of masculinity based on notions of honour and shame. These simplistic explanations maintain the distinctiveness of HBV from forms of VAW common in other British communities, ethnicising the crimes within the British multicultural context rather than viewing them as part of a systemic social problem that requires more nuanced analysis (Gill and Brah, 2013; Meetoo and Mirza, 2007; Razack, 2004). Such violence has been seen to transcend national and international boundaries, existing throughout history in a broad variety of societies across the world from white European to African cultures, to South and East Asia to Latin America (Begikhani et al., 2010). Many people have the misconception that Islam teaches honour crime because the crimes predominantly take place within islamic countries and amongst muslim communities, but while perpetrators often cite religious justification for their acts it is worth noting that they are not in any religious text, and the phenomenon is, in any case, a global one (Faqir, 2001).
For clarity, and a more generic foundation from which to build, the Oxford English Dictionary (2010) definition of honour is provided below:
Honour: high respect; great esteem: a person or thing that brings esteem: the
quality of knowing and doing what is morally right: something regarded as a rare opportunity and bringing pride or pleasure: to fulfil (an obligation) or keep (an agreement): a woman’s chastity or her reputation for being chaste (dated definition)
Interestingly, and in sharp contrast to parts of the above definition, the protection of honour now takes priority over morality within familial politics.
The concept itself is devised through dualistic notions of male honour and female shame, two dynamically interrelated fields. Honour (tied to male self and social worth) relates to the behaviour expected of members of a particular community, while shame (ascribed to the reputation, social conduct and chastity of female family members) is associated with transgressions against these expectations (Araji, 2000; Gill and Brah, 2013; Reddy, 2008; Spierenburg 1998). A vital component within this context is that the individual has less importance than the community; the aberrant behaviour of one is thought to affect the social status of all connected. Judgements concerning honour are made according to subjectively defined cultural and gendered criteria which take alternate forms dependent on geographical location, regional culture and family’s socioeconomic status; expectations vary widely, ranging from the extremely patriarchal to the comparatively egalitarian and a weighty emphasis on gender differentiation means that women, more so than men, face oppression as a result of the honour system (Gallagher and Parratt, 2011; Welchman and Hossain, 2005). As a safeguard against dishonour, women are policed internally by family members, and externally via the community. The enforcement of honour codes place a high tariff on deviation; females are not trusted to make autonomous decisions regarding their private lives for fear they may bring shame on the family, and any attempt by women to the resist control by men and step beyond the restrictions of social borders threatens the status quo, bringing the danger of damage to social standing. Even where females operate subserviently within the framework of honour, they still carry the burden of any male or female violation of their sexual propriety; for instance a rape that results in pregnancy outside of wedlock can instigate both crimes of honour and revictimisation (Faqir, 2001; Gill, 2008). Where honour has been defiled, it becomes the mans duty to cleanse the family reputation, redressing the problem through punishment or even the eradication of the deviant female, so as not to be seen as weak and emasculated, not to be reduced to women, not to lose control and harbour the destructive consequences of shame (Araji, 2000; Bourdieu, 1989; Brandon and Hafez, 2008; Feldman, 2010; Reddy, 2008; Ruane, 2000).
Ideologically, societal honour structures are perpetuated for women's own good; women are viewed as vulnerable and seen to be in constant need of male guidance and protection, therefore any hardship endured is deemed necessary or even prosocial* (Ruane, 2000). Here, essentially, is a form of violence against women where the publicly articulated vindication is attributed to a social order claimed to require the preservation of the concept of honour, vested in male family and/or conjugal control over, specifically, women’s sexual conduct- actual, suspected or potential (Hossain and Welchman, 2005). The allegation alone is * This doctrine works on both micro (familial) and macro (state) scales; for instance, the concept of a ‘just’ war is another example of the idea that short-term suffering can bring long-term benefits; a necessary prelude to a better future (Linder, 2006) enough to mar a family’s honour, therefore providing some semblance of justification for measures of enforcement (Strid et al., 2013). For some sections within minority communities however, notions of honour have positive connotations and are not about sexual or gender control but about respecting a sense of personal trust, dignity, and integrity (Gill et al., 2014; Vandello & Cohen, 2003). There is also evidence to suggest that for many, violence in the name of honour is a highly dishonourable act that might lead to social condemnation of the perpetrator, not the victim (Gill, 2006; Madek, 2005). Irrespective of this, the value attached to honour, and it’s pernicious counterpart shame, destroy and recreate volatile hierarchies of moral and social rank, creating a climate of fear and submission, where the potential threat to reputation precludes the possibility of transparent, honest social interaction, eroding possibilities for trust. What is particular about the concepts of honour and shame is that they serve to isolate women, preventing them from seeking external help and redress when affected by violence. The domination of men through patrilineal relations, financial decisions and selecting partners for their children implies the physical and psychological confinement of women, who, in fear of entering both private and public space (physically and through speech and words) see their strength, vitality, skills and intelligence being diminished from the service of the society and nation (Begikhani et al., 2010). Individuals feel compelled to conceal thoughts, desires and practices, to avoid shame and ruination if they deviate from accepted standards; important foundation stones of social cooperation, transparency and cohesion are removed, instead being replaced by the socialisation, and in some instances the indoctrination, of people to accept power inequalities - many of which already exist, and prevail, within the state (Lindner, 2006; Manjoo and McRaith, 2011:14). It is the very actors within this state, criminal justice or otherwise, who strategically employ such power relations, using the private spheres of family and culture as a pretext, an excuse, for non- intervention into HBV, despite close connections with domestic violence (Abu- Rabia, 2011). The idea that HBV is permissible in the context of multiculturalism is reinforced, intentionally or not, simply because crimes of this nature have not been acknowledged as an item of legal or public concern until very recently (Eshareturi et al. 2014).
“Death is the fairest cover for her shame that may be wished for.”
Much Ado About Nothing, William Shakespeare (Act 4, Scene 1: 113-115)
A Glance At Criminal Justice Responses to HBV To Date
The criminal law and criminal justice system outwardly represent and uphold the country’s order, authority, morality, justice and stability. Numerous attempts to address accountability and impunity issues within the discourses of gender violence and violence against women indicate that the current government does not seem sufficiently concerned with providing parallel justice; instead, an over- investment in the criminal justice system in the UK is undermining strategies for responding effectively. This begs the question as to whether or not an over- reliance on the criminal justice system is well suited as a primary response in addressing crimes of honour (Gill, 2008).
Struggles against violence often rest on seeking redress for women, whether through forms of political mobilisation or legal and constitutional reform, and whilst there is no direct legislation in the UK for honour crimes, HBV remains illegal, categorised under the government's definition of domestic violence; honour is rarely used as an explicit classification, more so as an umbrella term to encompass various offences already covered by existing laws. In 2008, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) in line with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) implemented a working definition, naming HBV as : ‘… a crime or incident, which has or may have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and/or community’ (ACPO, 2008:5). By not drawing attention to the gender of the perpetrator or the victim, it stands in contrast to other definitions that explicitly identify HBV as a form of male violence against women (Gill et al., 2014; Meetoo and Mirza, 2007), leaving open the possibility of female perpetration and male victimisation. The simplicity of the definition is not intended in any way to minimise the levels of violence and harm caused by the perpetration of such crimes but, understandably, the concept of HBV is elastic with numerous factors including time, place and forms of articulation and expression in society, complicating any attempts to construct a universal meaning (Welchman & Hossain, 2005). Although the UK government agrees with the ACPO (2008) definition of HBV, they advocate caution in the use of the word honour and maintain that there is not, and indeed cannot be, any honour or justification for the abuse of the human rights of others (ACPO, 2008; Eshareturi et al., 2014). The definition itself is not without its caveats, for instance how can we be sure when an incident, and in turn the motivation for the action, can be identified, unequivocally, as being specific to honour? Crimes committed in the name of honour that do not result in homicide are not recognised within UK legislation as a form of HBV, but instead fall within other criminal law dimensions, for instance a restriction on movement is recorded as false imprisonment. Honour crimes therefore can often be unwittingly disguised as disappearances, accidents, or suicides, particularly where cases may not contain sufficient information to determine motive (Sen et al., 2005). Concurrently is the ongoing debate, both politically and theoretically, concerning the extent to which HBV should be differentiated from the domestic violence definition and indeed more generally. Countries are too slowly recognising HBV as a distinct crime and when faced with the abuses of ‘culture’, it is tempting to refuse the categorisation of a discrete body of honour-based crime, and insist on treating is as part of the wider classification of domestic violence and violence against women (Dustin and Phillips, 2008: 413). Certainly, HBV encompasses a variety of manifestations of VAW and, bearing in mind that there are many overlapping features, cannot be viewed as entirely separate or distinct from domestic violence (Gill, 2008; Chesler, 2009; Meetoo & Mirza, 2007). Singling out HBV as a particularly barbaric form of VAW may trivialise ‘mainstream’ forms of domestic abuse (Fernandez, 2009:12), however to deny specificity if it exists is problematic; where HBV can be differentiated from the wider category of violence against women, then recognising its specificity may save lives (Sen, 2005: 50). Not only does this raise further questions as to whether the criminal justice system should take a gender or culture mainstreaming approach, but it creates unease amongst some; putting honour crimes on the public agenda as a distinct offence might cause a dangerous backlash in the immigration debate and heighten xenophobic sentiments against asylum seekers (Gill et al., 2014; Salim 2003).
Arguably, the state has the responsibility to value life over misplaced cultural competency and is therefore bound to protect women from such violations. Those challenged with managing such a volatile situation face tension in attempting to balance cultural competency and multiracial sensitivity with effective responses to combat the moral travesty of honour based violence in particular, and violence against women in general. The UK government is left with a quandary where both action and inaction can be interpreted as racist (Dustin and Phillips: 2008; Eshareturi et al., 2014; Gallagher and Parrott, 2011).
It is argued that for honour-based violence to be managed effectively, it must first be dissociated from culture, and from mainstream domestic violence discourse, and recognised as a national problem that requires serious and specific policy intervention. Although it is acknowledged that all policy responses to complex social problems should reflect multicultural sensitivity, this should not become an excuse for nonintervention (Eshareturi et al., 2014). Activists such as Newham Asian Women’s Project, Southall Black Sisters, and Kurdish Women Action Against Honour Killings have continuously criticised the government for avoiding the roots of violence and allowing violations of women’s human rights to continue, thereby reflecting on the states inadequacy in addressing the general problem; the gendered context in which the abuse of women occurs (Eshareturi et al.,2014; Gill, 2009: 475; Heise et al., 1994; Manjoo and McRaith, 2011: 30). Another major obstacle amongst feminist scholars has been the need for governments to address the issue of gendered violence in marginalised groups, in particular forced marriage as a manifestation of violence against women, without simultaneously engaging in or reproducing stereotypes or racist attitudes towards certain cultures (Anitha and Gill 2010; Dustin and Phillips 2008; Meetoo and Mirza 2007). Southall Black Sisters (SBS) insisted that forced marriage should be dealt with as part of the national strategy on domestic violence for a several reasons: to avoid marginalisation of the issue; to ensure that it was perceived as gender-related violence rather than as a ‘cultural practice’ and to see that it was addressed within an overall human rights framework on protection (SBS, 2014).
Until fairly recently, the main UK government initiative focused specifically on forced marriage, rather than attempting to develop a better understanding of the range of forms of HBV and VAW and their interconnections (Begikhani et al., 2010). The interest in, and awareness of, the issue in media and government circles emerged with the tragic case of Rukshana Naz, a 19-year-old Asian woman, murdered in Derby in 1998 (see Appendix A for full details). For the purpose of clarity, here the thesis adopts the definition given in the 2014 statutory guidance paper ‘The Right to Choose: Multi-agency Statutory Guidance for Dealing With Forced Marriage’:
‘A forced marriage is a marriage in which one or both spouses do not consent to the marriage but are coerced into it. Duress can include physical, psychological, financial, sexual and emotional pressure. In the cases of some vulnerable adults who lack the capacity to consent, coercion is not required for a marriage to be forced ’ (HM Government, 2014a:5).
An initial focus of state efforts on civil remedies under the Forced Marriage Civil (Protection Act) 2007 were representative of the influence that widespread multicultural ideology had on political decision making, as well as being inadequate in communicating forced marriage as a violation of human rights (Kelly and Radford, 1990; Macey, 2009; Quek, 2012). Little attention was paid to criminal legislation as a means of combating violence against women in minority communities, and the existing problem of promoting civil remedies meant that a seemingly pretentious respect for culture was prioritised over gender violence, with some minority group women denied the same protection of human rights afforded to majority group women on the basis of race or culture (Quek, 2012: 636). It also beheld some obvious and predictable difficulties, for where the emphasis was placed on conciliating community spokesmen so as to get them to pronounce against forced marriage, there presented a risk that mediation became capitulation to conservative norms; a focus on funding groups that act for the victims of forced marriage threatened alienating the more traditional community representatives (Phillips and Dustin, 2004). The government’s care not to stigmatise minority groups suggested that the primary decision not to criminalise forced marriage was as much a reflection of its concern that such action may have undesirable electoral implications, as it was based on the belief that criminalisation would be to the detriment of victims (Macey, 2009; 86). This reasoning did not justify inaction, only serving to encourage the simplicity of regulation through immigration control as the favoured approach.
Troublesome was the preliminary over-concentration on marriages involving overseas spouses, which fed the view that all marriages arranged in this manner were suspect, primarily a backdoor route to UK citizenship, and more alarmingly, diverted attention from coerced marriages within the UK. Potentially, at least, it also encouraged the use of immigration regulation as the main way of addressing the problem; a false and naive ideal that forced marriage can be eradicated simply by restricting transnational movement (Phillips and Dustin, 2004) (something which, unfortunately, is still an emphasised characteristic of UK policy in all state department sectors). The publication of a consultation paper by the UK Border Agency in 2007, entitled ‘Marriage to Partners From Overseas ‘ confirmed this. It concerned the use of the immigration rules to prevent forced marriage; its central proposal was to raise the marriageable age of overseas spouses and their sponsors from 18 to 21, with the overarching aim to prevent marriage from being used as a migration route into Britain (Gower, 2011). Many activists, including the SBS, opposed this on the grounds that that it was discriminatory and disproportionate There was no evidence to show that raising the age of marriage would prevent a forced marriage, nor was entry into the UK a main motivating factor. The age was reverted back to 18 after the Supreme Court ruled the government policy constituted a breach of human rights by preventing genuine couples from living together (Gower, 2011; SBS, 2014).
A main characteristic of UK initiatives has been their very literal emphasis on enabling individuals to extricate themselves from the threat or reality of forced marriage. For those trapped in unwanted marriages, exit is, of course, the most urgent priority yet is proving an inadequate solution, in part because it rests on an over-simple dichotomy between coerced and consensual marriage, and partly because it ignores the enormous pressures on individuals to remain within their unwanted marriage (Anitha and Gill 2010; Dustin and Phillips 2008; Meetoo and Mirza 2007). Even where men are subjected to forced marriage, it remains easier and more acceptable for them to escape from the situation, women, by contrast, face far greater pressure from family to reconcile themselves to potentially abusive relationships (Araji, 2000; Baker et al., 1999; Siddiqui, 2003). In particular, women brought into the UK as spouses face severe difficulties, for if they attempt to leave the marriage before their immigration status is resolved they will have no recourse to most forms of public funding. This sets a dauntingly high barrier against leaving a forced marriage, especially if they have no-one to turn to for help with temporary accommodation or financial or emotional support. Recognising the danger that women will be compelled to stay in an abusive marriage rather than risk deportation, some leniency was granted. Indefinite leave can now be provided to woman who can prove the breakdown of her marriage through domestic violence. The standard of proof, however, is high - the abused spouse has to take out an injunction, or establish that her partner has been convicted in court, or issued with a police caution (CPS, 2014).
On the 8th June 2012, the coalition government introduced the proposition for a new legislation criminalising forced marriage in England and Wales; this decision finally recognised the act as a form of violence against women after many years of debate, although the laws and polices surrounding forced marriage could be interpreted as less about public safety and more to do with the government establishing its authority, and placing ethnic minorities into the public consciousness. Earlier this year, section 121 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 criminalised forced marriage (Home Office, 2014b). Effective since the 16th June 2014, the new legislation also made triable coercing a UK national into marriage outside of the UK an offence under domestic law, working alongside the prior set up of the Forced Marriage Unit (a joint foreign commonwealth and home office unit) in 2005, operating both inside the UK and overseas to provide consular assistance to British and dual nationals. It is hoped that the new criminal offences will work alongside existing civil legislation (Forced Marriage Protection Orders - FMPOs) allowing victims to pursue a civil or criminal option (Home Office, 2014ab). Two recently published government papers (HM Government, 2014ab) outline multi-agency guidance for public bodies who exercise function in relation to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of vulnerable children and adults who may be susceptible to forced marriage, with many recommendations regarding subjective decision making (see Appendix B) inspired by the backlash to the police response during the case of Banaz Mahmod (see subsection entitled ‘Police’ for more details). The police service has undoubtedly undergone a fundamental overhaul in the past 10 years in an attempt to improve race equality, (particularly since the publication of the Lawrence Inquiry Report (1999) which recommended that crimes be investigated with the same vigour irrespective of race, culture, and religion of the victim), and yet it has been argued, rather vehemently by activists and scholars alike, that the approach of the UK police force toward HBV had been passive until fairly recent media exposure (Sharp and Atherton, 2007).
Honour-based crimes have posed a unique challenge to the police, plaguing them with several issues that contribute to the ineffectiveness of current policy and practice in tackling HBV and, more widely, VAW. In terms of policing structures, the responsibility of intervention has required the assumption of both a legalistic and social service role, creating a discordance between effective crime control and social welfare (Flood and Pease, 2009; Goldsmith, 1990; Sharp and Atherton, 2007). Police intervention, although a primary response to honour based violence, is not a guarantee of adequate victim safety or justice, particularly as police protection is conditional, discretionary, and dependent upon a subjective interpretation of events. For some law enforcement practitioners, HBV (much like an instance of domestic violence) is a private matter that should be resolved within the confines of the family home, however, decisions like these are only likely to antagonise the situation, inducing a cyclical relationship where reports of future incidents become less likely and the subsequent lack of information inhibits effective policing (Gill, 2008; Sharp and Atherton, 2007; Tarling and Morris, 2010). What can be interpreted as an ill judged recommendation by law enforcement is only clouded further by the lack of clarity and specificity in the operational definition provided by ACPO (2008) (see above) which is supposed to act as a guidance for police officers. As it stands reports to the police are sporadic at best, and given the definitional issues alongside problems of identification and recording crimes correctly, both the quantity and quality of data on the incidence of honour crime is limited to begin with, making it impossible to determine how extensive HBV actually is (Korteweg, 2012). The current bone of contention, however, is not that honour-based violence could be happening on a large scale, but rather that the crimes are so often neglected by the police for fear of upsetting cultural sensibilities (even where the information and evidence is blatant) that, in effect, it leads to cultural incompetency (Gill, 2006; Sanghera, 2009). The murder of Banaz Mahmod is a prime, if not the most prominent, example within honour based violence exposing how the police service fails to protect young minority women from violence despite satisfactory evidence (Hague et al., 2012; Mayell, 2002).
Banaz’s case was unusual because of the extended nature of her ordeal. On April 28, 2006, 20-year-old Banaz Mahmod’s body was found inside a suitcase buried in a shallow grave in the garden of a Birmingham house. She had been strangled with a bootlace; murdered in an organised plot by her father, uncle and cousins for seeking divorce from an arranged marriage to an abusive husband and falling in love with a man outside of her family clan group -her desire to dissolve the marriage was regarded as a betrayal of family honour. Her father’s first attempt on her life took place on New Year’s Eve, 2005 when he had forced her to drink alcohol in an attempt to get her drunk, inhibit her physical movements, so he could kill her. Banaz realised that she was in danger and fled the house; although she managed to break a window and escape, she could not find a safe place to evade her family and eventually called the police. However, despite the fact that her hands were bleeding, the police treated her as though she was making a ploy for attention in the aftermath of a private family argument, and even considered charging Banaz with criminal damage. The female police officer she talked to dismissed her claims as dramatic and calculating and failed to record the attempted murder allegation (the policewoman later admitted that she had made a terrible mistake). Banaz later recorded a telephone video message on her boyfriend’s mobile phone about the police’s refusal to help her; this message was later used in evidence against her father and uncle in their trial for her murder. The very same day, a police officer had called round to her family home, but she turned them away. Over the next seven weeks, she went to police four times. On December 4 she went to Mitcham station to report her uncle's threats and threatening telephone calls to her mother, in which he told her that he and other family members were going to kill Ms Mahmod and her boyfriend. She told them she didn't want any action to be taken, but for the details to be recorded in case anything happened to her. A week later, on December 12, she handed in a list of names of those she suspected of being involved in a plot to end her life, including those of her father, uncle and cousins. The last contact she had with police was on 23rd January 2006, when she told of further threats on her life and an attempt to kill her boyfriend the previous night (McVeigh, 2007; Mcvey, 2012). Banaz's father and uncle were convicted of her murder in June 2007, two other men involved fled to Iraq and were extradited back before being jailed for life in 2010.
The key question for a police disciplinary inquiry into the death of Banaz
Mahmod will be the actions of officers on New Year's Eve 2005. Yes, she refused an alarm and, the day before she died, she also refused offers of a refuge, but the investigation will examine whether, while respecting her wishes, the police did enough to reassure, to help, and ultimately, to protect her. A catalogue of missed opportunities are evident; first and foremost the officer, as the primary point of contact, did not take Banaz seriously, failing to record the allegations against her family- police protection and law enforcement should not be subjective, nor discretionary and is in fact subversive of the ideals and demands of legality (Goldsmith, 1990). The severity of the Banaz’s statement should have warranted enough for a familial background check, one which would have revealed that an older sister, Bekhal, had been placed in foster care due to fears for her safety. It is also plausible that the police may have antagonised the situation further by calling at her family home, ultimately making Banaz’s accusations known to her parents and contributing to rapidity of her impending demise. Furthermore, during the widespread coverage of Banaz’s murder, not a single prominent politician spoke out to condemn VAW, call for a public inquiry or propose a parliamentary debate. It was left entirely to the black and minority ethnic (BME) violence against women movement to step forward and demand an inquiry. At the same time, many of these BME organisations are currently facing major cut- backs and closure especially since the introduction of huge cuts in UK public expenditure in October 2010.
We must, at this point, give reference to the tense relationship between some ethnic minority groups and the police, one that is alleged to have always existed; a consequence of, inter alia, the political and social marginalisation of these groups (Sanghera, 2009). The idea that officers remain ignorant about this form of violence based on a selective interpretation of culture, religion or race is concerning, and indeed, one of the long-standing criticisms of the police, levied by a number of prosecutors, women’s groups, and victims of HBV, relates to police attitudes. Of course, the community is not absolved of blame but accusations of institutional racism are reached for almost by default, with the term serving as a reductionist yet collective explanation for a tangled web of experiences, real and imagined, that sustain an embedded antagonism and a source of blame aimed towards the police (Begikhani et al., 2010; Gill, 2009; Millings, 2013). The cultural power and significance of the police only serves to contribute to this, determining the extent to which claims of recognition within socio-political communities are accepted or declined (Loader and Mulcahy, 2003: 39). The resulting cultural imperialism denies members of specific groups their full status in social interaction, inhibiting membership (at an individual level) and recognition (at a social group level).
Remarkably, a collective glance at UK institutions prior to Banaz’s murder reveals that the criminal justice system had sought to redress and prevent further discrepancies in tackling HBV - the catalyst being the extensive media coverage of the murders of 19 year old Rukhsana Naz in 1998 and sometime later in 2003, of Heshu Yones aged 16 and Shafelia Ahmed aged 17 (Dodd, 2003) (see Appendix A for details). The Metropolitan Police Service was the first to take the lead by setting up prevention strategies and training for all police forces in the country. This was followed some two years later in 2004 by Scotland Yard announcing the re-examination of 109 possible honour killings from the period 1993-2003. As many of the cases had already been closed, the primary purpose of the initiative was to look at the motivation behind these crimes with a view to developing risk assessment indicators and a national police database to monitor and record such cases more effectively- an important development given the identified shortcomings in relation to police data in such instances (Begikhani et al., 2010). And yet it was only after the case of Banaz Mahmod, that the CPS piloted a flagging scheme in 2007 for forced marriage and HBV and, after extensive consultation, ACPO, building on the work of the Metropolitan Police Service, developed strategies on honour crimes and forced marriage (ACPO, 2008), containing comprehensive guidance on the provision of HBV related training for police officers around the country. This was implemented in March 2009, alongside the risk assessment tool DASH (domestic abuse, stalking and harassment).
Despite the forward-looking work that has been accomplished at a strategic level, a focus predominantly on the cultural or ethnic characteristics and traditions alongside the effect of political conflict and terrorism, has meant that not only have implementations been too slow, but they have yet to be fully embedded in everyday practice nation-wide (Beckett and Macey, 2001).
Chapter Three Methodology
The purpose of this research was, primarily, to establish just how effective UK criminal justice policy has been in dealing with honour based crimes. High profile media stories, such as that of Banaz Mahmod and Shafelia Ahmed (see Chapter Two or Appendix A for full details), exemplified, amongst other things, the inadequacy of the state response to the problem. Additionally, the thesis has also contemplated over how HBV operates within the wider contexts of gender violence and violence against women, in collaboration with the collective implications of culture and the social world on Asian minority communities, to provide a more comprehensive understanding of how HBV operates as a collective entity.
Selecting A Research Design
Existing scholars have typically employed qualitative interview methods (Gill and Brah, 2013) or undertaken a purely literary review (Dustin and Phillips, 2008; Meeto and Mirza, 2007) with some articles problematic, making only trivial contributions to the knowledge base, plagued by a large amount of duplicated material with little originality. The scarcity of primary data on HBV and the difficulty of collection due to secrecy and lack of incident reports must be acknowledged; more so as it raises questions about the validity and reliability of data derived from unrepresentative case studies that are likely to be compromised by the participants willingness to share their true opinions with researchers. Such actions highlight intrinsic difficulties that may be encountered when conducting research with people for whom mistrust and caution are deeply embedded (Liebling, 2001). Furthermore, any research conducted within a political landscape has the potential for political consequences, whether or not they are sought after (Liebling, 2001:479). With particular interest to this research, many have argued that women’s experiences of violence - a complex, multi-faceted phenomenon, occurring within a social context that is influenced by gender norms, interpersonal relationships, and sexual scripts- cannot be understood in a purely quantitative manner and would be divorced from their context (Pope et al., 2000). More pertinently, an investigation that stretches beyond official data is valuable as it can alert practitioners to unintended consequences of well meaning policies, highlighting the importance of questioning claims about reformative potential, alongside the idea that crime can be tackled through slight adjustments in the criminal justice system without paying attention to social roots (Gill, 2006).
In order to best address the research questions, the study employed qualitative techniques to uncover the subjective and objective realities of the social world, encompassing pragmatical and theoretical stances whilst reducing dogmatism (Johnson and Onwuegbuzie, 2004). A semi-structured interview with Asian females is well suited for the exploration of perceptions and opinions regarding the complex and sensitive issue of HBV; effective research is grounded in investments of human engagement and bodies of knowledge that lie beyond traditional academic discourse, providing a “deeper” understanding of social phenomena than that obtained from purely quantitative data or literary study (Kulczycki and Windle, 2011; Liebling, 2001; Silverman, 2011). The informal technique supplements probing; an invaluable tool for clarification, data reliability and eliciting further information. The interview themes were guided by the research questions, but also derived from pre-existing literature with some room for flexibility to flesh out the broader issues of gender, power and culture on the continuum of violence (Kelly, 1987).
To maintain objectivity it was vital that questions asked in all interviews did not lead the respondents to an answer that fit the research outcomes. Furthermore, it could not be assumed that the respondent would have the same knowledge as the researcher, and therefore validity and reliability depended, not upon the repeated use of the same words in each question, but upon conveying equivalence of meaning (Barriball and While, 1994). According to models of the survey response process (Tourangeau, 2004), errors can occur because respondents misunderstand the question, or have difficulty mapping answers onto one of the categories. Questions were in their simplest form to avoid confusion, with clarification of words or phrases given to ensure full answers are received. In addition, it was taken into account that intrusive questions tend to produce comparatively higher nonresponse rates (Tourangeau and Yan, 2007). Questions that are overly intrusive will be avoided, given the likely participant concerns about the threat of disclosure, the respondent of course has the right not to answer and may terminate the interview at any time (Tourangeau, 2004). Because of the nature of the subject matter, the extent to which a question elicits answers that are socially unacceptable or socially undesirable were considered (Tourangeau, 2004), with all questions taking heed of the clear social norms regarding behaviour and attitudes in HBV and British society.
As the study is conducted as part of a Masters degree, the researcher has benefitted from the supervision available from Liverpool John Moores University, assisting in challenging any bias and maintaining the integrity of the research.
Prior to conducting the interviews, the likelihood that participants may have personal experience regarding HBV was noted; given the delicate and potentially psychologically demanding nature of the topic, it was necessary to acknowledge the emotive responses that may be evoked not only with participants but with the researcher. The subject area was approached with sensitivity and a foreknowledge of the issues surrounding HBV to avoid overstepping any boundaries to which an individual may take offence or have cause to feel distressed. Armed with personal experience of cultural discrepancies and a wide reading and understanding of existing literature surrounding HBV, a stereotypical mindset and the influence of personal views was avoided, maintaining as much validity as could be hoped in order to produce a reliable yet morally conscious piece of research.
The primary data for the study was supplied by a convenience sample of 9 Asian females, aged between 17 and 28, who had varying experiences of HBV and the criminal justice system in the north west of England (Bolton, Preston, Manchester and Liverpool). It was noted that as a female researcher engaging with other females, a balance in the gender power dynamic was created. Participants should therefore not feel at a disadvantage, given that most perpetrators of HBV are male (Akpinar, 2003; Hague et al., 2012), it should be easier to establish a degree of comfort. This, coupled with the fact that the researcher has some degree of familiarity with interviewees, allowed those involved to feel more at ease and encouraged the disclosure of information of a sensitive nature. The same results may not have been yielded from a male interviewer, nor indeed, from male participants.
All involved were provided with the Participant Information Sheet (Appendix C) and were required to read it through to ensure they understood what the research entailed. The researcher ensured that participants were aware that their involvement in, and contributions to, the study were completely voluntary, and that maintaining the safety of the individuals was the paramount consideration at all times. All participants received the assurance that once the interview transcription was complete, the recording would be destroyed. At any time, the interview could be terminated without the participant providing a reason and of course, the interviewee did not have to answer a question if they chose not to. Participants were also forewarned that direct quotes may be used in the write up of the research.
Before the signing of the consent form (Appendix D), all participants were given the opportunity to ask questions regarding the research or to clarify points that may not have been clear initially. Given the vulnerability and sensitive nature of the research, participants were only required to initial the consent form, rather than disclose a full name. Some chose to write their full name anyway, as they were ensured that the forms would only be viewed researcher herself. After the appropriate documents were signed and dated, all involved were reminded of their guaranteed anonymity within the research through the use of a pseudonym of their choice, the confidentiality of the information obtained, details of data storage and termination and their right to withdraw at anytime. In this way deceit, alongside the chance of refusal or withdrawal, was kept to a minimum.
Additional reference was made to the possibility of participants disclosing experiences as a victim, witness or even perpetrator. A debrief sheet (Appendix E) was provided for the participants to retain, detailing the numbers and websites of several services available should they feel the need for on-going or follow up support, alongside contact details of the researcher should they have any questions or comments regarding the study, or if they wanted to request a copy of the final research project upon completion.
Conducting The Interviews, Recording And Storage
All interviews were recorded using an Olympus VN755 dictaphone to permit an identical replication of the dialogue; a method which is more reliable than memory or written notes, improving precision, validity and accessibility. In this manner, full attention was given to the participant, the interview and the emergence of any underlying themes (Creswell, 2009). Often, knowledge that conversation is being recorded may inhibit natural and truthful responses, however given that their is some familiarity between the researcher and the interviewees and the reassurance that the tape would be destroyed upon completion of the transcription, a comfortable, honest atmosphere was encouraged.
To accommodate this further, and given the sensitive nature of the research, participant interviews took place on a day, time and in a place of their choosing. The interviews were typically conducted in the early afternoon at each individual home, often a day or two apart. The researcher felt at ease with the relatively neutral setting as it facilitated a relaxed environment for the participants, improving the likelihood that more open and detailed information would be disclosed. The use of language throughout all interviews was kept consistent, clarity being key to enable understanding and avoid confusion, with the researcher discouraging disclosures that went beyond the legitimate aims of the research by redirecting the focus of the discussion without resorting to the use of leading questions. The participants seemed keen to engage, and the researcher was somewhat surprised at the bluntness provided in the extensive commentary. The researcher speculated this could be likened to a relief, of sorts, in offloading information that could be considered burdensome, particularly when it is otherwise, sometimes forcibly, kept hidden.
Each interview averaged 51 minutes, with times varying between 25 and 77 minutes. Upon completion of the interviews, the recordings were transferred to the researcher’s personal computer to be later transcribed verbatim onto a word document, to be coded and analysed at a later date. The transcripts were kept password protected throughout use to maintain confidentiality, with the recordings later deleted from the dictaphone. The transcripts were thoroughly examined, with the researcher bearing in mind that there was potential for the participants to exaggerate or lie in an attempt to protect themselves or others (Creswell, 2009:7).
The extracts cited in the following chapters are derived from the interviews conducted during the research study.
The term grounded theory is used to describe the inductive process of identifying analytical categories as they emerge from the data, with coding providing the link between data and conceptualisation (Bryman, 2012). The categories for the themes were identified from a combination of the literature and interview responses. The researcher developed preliminary coding categories, by listing all the issues, perceptions, attitudes, beliefs, and any other important aspects identified during the preceding stage. Once the principal coding categories had been identified, a code was assigned with a corresponding abbreviation and then colour co-ordinated for ease of reference.
The code was placed in the margin of each transcript to document particular segments of text, also making it uncomplicated to assemble all the data into each category for a preliminary analysis. Relationships and salient differences were identified not only within categories, but between categories.
The first, and perhaps most obvious, limitation with this research is of course the use of a small sample. Although the findings cannot be generalised, it remains to be that qualitative studies are not designed to be representative in terms of statistical generalisability (Pope et al., 2000) and in practice, the use of a qualitative approach has enabled a greater appreciation of the opinions of the respondents. High quality analysis of qualitative data depends on the skill, vision, and integrity of the researcher, of course the thinking surrounding qualitative methods can be considered to lack accuracy and precision instead being overly impressionistic and subjective (Byman, 2012: 405). Subjectivity, however, is paramount in order to gain an understanding of these experiences; particularly with many aspects of violence against women, behaviour typically occurs in private sphere, and therefore cannot be observed or manipulated in a laboratory setting- they cannot simply be reduced to a checklist criteria (Testa et al., 2011).
Furthermore given the secretive and sensitive nature of the topic in combination with the labour intensive systematic and rigorous preparation and analysis of qualitative data, it is unlikely that, with the time constraints, the researcher could have accessed and built a rapport with more individuals to deliver a larger and willing cohort. It would also perhaps prove difficult for a male researcher to replicate the study in such detail with female participants, given what we can infer from prior literature about the gender of the perpetrators, participants may be less willing to disclose information of such a personal nature to a member of the opposite sex, possibly even more so if the interviewer is of Asian origin.
Conversely, no men were interviewed and this may imply a lack of gender stability. Of course, we must remember that the research was concerned with the experiences of women as the primary receptors of HBV, and from a theoretical stance, men as victims are less inclined to report a crime or seek help (Tarling and Morris, 2010) so the sampling group may be smaller, if existent at all. Further research may indeed wish to probe in this sect.
“Die…and thy shame with thee, And with thy shame thy father’s sorrow die.”Titus Andronicus,William Shakespeare(Act 5, Scene 3: 42-44)
“Should be the father to so blest a son—A son who is the theme of honour’s tongue…”
Henry IV,William Shakespeare(Act 1, Scene 1: 79-80)
A Theoretical Stance On The Implementation of Criminal Justice Responses
The constraints of how policy is acted upon in practice and how individuals make interpretations within their own institutions is very much influenced by political, social and cultural factors, and in the militarisation of policing, can reinforce rather than ameliorate ethnic prejudice, racism and discrimination. Policy surrounding violence affecting women is very much influenced by political stability and will only succeed in areas where women’s organisations are able to exert political pressure, although other modes of exclusion in the political, social and civil spheres continue to operate (Yuval-Davis, 2006). Whilst feminist activism in the UK has brought violence against women to the foreground of debates about crime and human rights, helping to situate it in policies on gender equality and crime control (Walklate, 2008), an abundance of past research has typically taken a monocausal approach by emphasising one factor largely to the exclusion of others (Abrar et al., 2000; Dutton and Nicholls, 2005; Johnson, 1995; Mears and Visher, 2005). The application of implementing a criminal justice response to all forms of violence affecting women has often fallen prey to selective essentialism with respect to heteronormative gender roles and the oversimplification, and selective interpretation, of theory (Corvo and Johnson, 2003). The ideological structures inherent in the patriarchal view embedded in so many diverse western institutions has undoubtedly been a central influence in criminal justice policy and response, and yet this is the very system that has perpetuated violence against women and proved a societal problem for both sexes by exerting power and control via the state over human social, political, economic and sexual norms (Charrad, 2010; Heise et al., 1994). Popular discourses continue to trivialise offences aligning with gender role expectations, rendering some women susceptible to assuming guilt or responsibility and challenging the credibility of the victim or constructing the women as complicit, and yet bizarrely, feminists continue over rely on a criminal justice system that they criticise so profusely, although this is not without contention (Dutton and Corvo, 2006; Smart, 1995; Stubbs, 2007). Ironically, some feminists now propose that criminal justice interventions should no longer be pursued as they are directly disempowering for women (Hester, 2006), and yet such mainstream sociocultural deficient measures of violence against women exist partly because minority women were marginalised by the largely white, middle- class feminist movement (Sokoloff and Dupont, 2005). Women have had little choice but to seek help from a modern system that reverses pre-modern relations of visibility and replaces violence with interconnected control systems of “…surveillance and normalising judgement" (Foucault, 1977: 192). Institutions fail to provide either permanent safety or genuine empowerment and instead reconfigure women within new and different sets of power relations (Westlund, 1999). The lack of satisfactory institutional support in the form of social services and public housing, as well as the intrusions and coercive controls by the state and its agencies, occur in ways that are racialised as well as gendered and classed (Anitha and Gill, 2010). The issue, especially within the context of multiculturalism, spans a number of government departments including those responsible for health, education, social services, immigration and criminal justice.
“I feel like because I’m asian they [the police] don’t…they look down on me, sort of? As if my claim next to a white girls claim is put second, rather than on the same level.”(Iqra)
“When you aren't taken seriously or you aren't provided with the help you need from the get go then you don't feel like a part of society, and really all you’re doing is just putting yourself at more risk. You feel less inclined to go back because you weren't helped the first time. It isn't worth it.”(Louisah)
The bias of the justice system, unresponsive and ineffective policing, and a lack of access to civil or legal recourse to adjudicate claims collectively encourage what is already a marginalised group to feel a disconnection from majority society; one that sustains a somewhat diminishing opinion of self-worth and self- importance. There are remnants of why the crime itself is so woefully underreported, and not just because of HBV’s secretive nature and tight knit community. Police performance, as the first point of contact for many, is disappointing and discouraging. Louisah’s concluding remarks are deductive, calculated on the premise that a poor reception by the criminal justice system- one offering little, if any, consolation, protection or advice - is hardly worth putting oneself at further risk of HBV. There seems to be sense of muted despair and pessimism towards a criminal justice system that, unintentionally or not, encourages a lack of self preservation, submission and subjugation. The complex question, of course, is how to allocate legal authority and criminal justice over these individuals with multiple affiliations in ways which accommodate their simultaneous belongings (without abandoning the protection of individual rights) and providing adequate safeguards for the less powerful group members.
“Making something illegal doesn't really make a difference it just means people hide it better. I suppose that can be said for all crimes right?”(Sofia)
“I suppose more than anything, it shows women who may be none the wiser that, hey, actually this is wrong, it’s not ok, its not normal and you should do something to get yourself out of that situation completely. Everyone should be aware of this, they should be told through institutions that can reach enormous amount of people and have huge influence at a basic level, like the education or the health system. Nobody’s going to know if the message isn't being put out there on a national level.
It’s been done with other things, like drugs, like domestic violence, why should
honour crimes be any different?”(Yasmin)
“Making honour crimes illegal isn't a bad thing, in fact it’s probably a very good thing, but it will discourage people from seeking help if they think that they’re responsible for their family getting into trouble with the law. It makes sense that not everyone wants a prosecution, I mean it’s you family right? But that’s not to say the right to protection should be absolved because you don't want to see your mother or your father go to prison.”(Nosheen)
The criminal justice system as a preventative measure towards HBV is very much an area for debate, having been met with mixed reactions. There seemed to be a paradox between wanting the criminal justice system to take responsibility, and yet a blatant disregard of some of the previous efforts made, though this was not specific to HBV alone, more of a general criticism. The act of criminalising HBV has not inspired hope for many, and although Yasmin does comment that the law provides women with direct guidance on morality and well being, she makes it clear that not enough is being done to broadcast the issue, and again, we are left with a sense that the crime itself is being marginalised to make way for more mainstream topical areas. Nosheen frames an interesting point (one reminiscent of Banaz’s interaction with the criminal justice system), contrasting the delicate areas of justice and family loyalty. A plethora of reasons preclude family trials, not limited to lack of funding, self blame, a reconciliation with the defendant, family loyalty, and with specific reference to honour crimes - the adverse consequences, the shame and dishonour, of community and family abandonment (Hart, 1996). Victim safety and protection is paramount to principles of crime prevention, should these be forfeited because of victim reluctance to proceed with a prosecution? What complicates this picture further is that due VAW currently being viewed as a matter of public concern, if women do not seek to remedy their problem through public means (i.e., in the manner dictated by the state), then they are accused of manipulating the system for private ends; this means that they are often denied assistance, thus forced back into the private realm where, invisible from protective agencies and social services, they are susceptible to further violence (Franke, 2006; Mechanic et al., 2000).
The Operation Of Patriarchy
HBV remains endemic, however a global perspective must be taken to see honour crimes embedded as part of the broad spectrum of VAW, one legitimised by the continuation of male control under the differing structures of the worldwide patriarchal phenomenon of violence (Gupta , 2003). It is logical and appropriate to conceptualise HBV within the wider discipline of gender-based crimes, and to do so is the beginning of a broader effort to end GBV (Begikhani et al., 2010: 144). Where honour based crimes are theoretically applied, we can see they are no different to any other gender dichotomies and can be analysed as a subcategory of patriarchal domination; the power exists within the context of patriarchal arrangements where women are constrained and excluded by the operation of gender imbalances (Baker et al.,1999; Feldman, 2010: 310 Ilkkaracan, 2002; Vandello and Cohen, 2003).
“If you’re a girl, automatically you are at a disadvantage right from the start. Boys or men, they don't get that, they don't feel the same pressure, they're put on a pedestal in a way, because they're male.”(Amara)
“Even if she's not the one in the wrong, a girl is never trusted to be doing the right thing”(Jasmine)
Males are privileged over females based on what appears to be nothing more than gender classification. HBV is based on an ideology of oppression, rooted in male-dominated societies where violence is conceptualised as a form of reputation management; an accepted and glorified method for resolving conflict or remedying situations where honour has been in some way compromised.
“They cant be seen to have a daughter who is out doing these sorts of things, it shows that they cant even control their own family.”(Yasmin)
“They’ll never just leave it, they always do something. They have to do something to save face, in their minds anyway.”(Louisah)
There is a deep rooted cynicism here, a selfish motivation expressed through the multifaceted and instrumental use of violence- used, whether effectively or not, to achieve desired social ends, seen across the spectrum of violence against women, but most pertinently in HBV. Honour is a tool demonstrative of the necessity of gender inequality to maintain status and social standing, violence theorised as a corrective force for sustaining social order generated by patriarchal structures, revealed most clearly in relations of domestic and community based violence hidden in the household (Akpinar, 2003; Feldman, 2010). Rules and sanctions construct normativity, gaining legitimacy from religious or moral codes interpreted by reactionary elements in order to authorise, restrict and punish female social behaviour considered transgressive of gendered social norms; the boundaries of acceptable femininity laid down by their ethnic or social communities -particularly those related to sexuality and marriage (Feldman, 2010: 307). The female body becomes a political field, inscribed and constituted by disciplinary power relations that operate to achieve gendered effects (Bartky, 1988; Payton, 2014; Sawicki, 1991). For instance, by engaging in a freely chosen illicit sexual relationship, a woman undermines the ownership rights of others to her body and challenges traditional social order. Non-compliance to the patriarchal norm has dire consequences that encompass a broad spectrum on the continuum of violence, ranging from verbal and physical abuse to coercion, psychological harm and life threatening actions- all of which perpetuate female subordination (Heise et al., 1994; Kelly, 1987). As part of the expression of masculinity, honour is always lived out openly before other people to provide a public display of patriarchal power - one primarily achieved at the expense of women: at best by being unfeminine, at worst by excluding, hurting, denigrating, exploiting, or otherwise abusing actual women* (Harris, * Admittedly, an overriding issue is that violence against women tends to be approached primarily from the stance of male as perpetrator, woman as victim. In an attempt to see HBV as motivated only by cultural values, not by patriarchal dominance, HBV is 2000).
This depiction of gender oppression corresponds with the conceptualisation of HBV, where causality has frequently been attributed (in the past, almost universally) to supposedly immutable and intrinsic traditions, religious beliefs and cultures, particularly those that view women as a commodity and a reflection of societal status (Gill et al., 2013). Globally, the concept of honour linked to ideas of women as property pertain to an agnatic collective, depending largely upon the control and objectification of women and their behaviour (Reddy, 2008; Siddiqui, 2003). In this scenario, it is the perpetrators as much as the victims who are seen as without agency, portrayed, and sometimes depicting themselves, as acting according to the unwritten laws of their culture, one which is credited with a compelling power to direct and drive behaviour (Rey, 2004). Both basis elide the way minority women exercise agency within patriarchy, reflecting a failure to acknowledge how women can internalise the norms thrust upon them and how this might implicate their own identities (Verkuyten, 2007; Volpp, 2001). The interpretation of the oppressive, inegalitarian system of sexual subordination aimed at turning women into docile, passive, compliant companions of men, is not based on the fear of male violence alone but on the structuring of women’s subjectivities. The multifaceted, complex, and contradictory features of women’s agency are in part connected to the fact their agency is used within the boundaries of existing social values, meanings and norms (Charrad, 2010: 519). We must remain conscious that women themselves often internalise norms of acceptable femininity and dominant hegemony observed as the product of a dyadic interaction between socially embedded actors, seeing that women are not absolved, that they too take an active part in sustaining a social system that encompasses security, economic and social status (Gill, 2008; Jones and Ferguson, 2009). The reluctance to accept HBV as a pure form of gendered violence has been evident, particularly within the UK context, where attempts by politicians and government officials argue that such violence is gender-neutral, since men have been the victims of ‘honour killings’ and forced marriages (Siddiqui, 2003:. 71), ultimately undermining gender as a serious theoretical problem (Anderson, 2013). Whilst it would be foolish to deny that some men do experience HBV (and some women commit it), the crimes themselves are predominantly perpetrated by men and experienced, as noted above, by women, especially younger female family members. Not only is HBV far more prevalent against women, but its implications are much more detrimental (Baker et al. 1999; Gallagher and Parrott, 2011; Reddy, 2008).
dictated by the patriarchal system, and this form of obedience to patriarchy means males are no longer required to formally exercise power as women become complicit in their own subjugation, embodying relations of inequality and preserving positions of male domination in the social world (Gallagher and Parrott, 2011; Hussein, 2013; Jenkins, 1992). As a pivotal factor in mechanisms of discipline and normalisation, panoptic relations of power prompt women into regulating themselves before an anonymous male gaze; self - formation surveillance leaves little room for deviance and disorder, reflecting the imbalance in social power between gender and the inescapability of judgement (Westlund, 1999). Here, domination is institutionalised by what Bourdieu refers to as ‘symbolic violence…that gentle, invisible violence, unrecognised as such, chosen as much as undergone…’ (Bourdieu, 1989:127). These forms of interaction permit relations of domination to be established and maintained through strategies which are softened, disguised, and which conceal domination in such a way that inequalities of a social order are experienced as legitimate, benefitting the elite at the expense of the subjugated (Jenkins, 1992). It is also demonstrative of what Foucault (1977) terms ‘discursive formation’; power operates via mechanisms of socialisation and community where people have learned to exercise self- discipline, conforming without the need for direct action. Despite this, it is evident that the state has limited the structural constraints of gender so well that women are either presented as a monolithic entity with limited subjectivity, obscuring the complex way in which gender is constructed, or their agency is portrayed so glowingly that the power of subordination evaporates (Anitha, 2008; Epstein, 2007; Radford and Tsutsumi, 2004).
Social practices operate successfully within a relational idiom of religious and cultural expression where women negotiate gendered expectations to follow, adapt, resist, and construct normativity as active social agents rather than as victims. The intergenerational cycling of violence has seen women, in their roles as mothers and mother-in-laws, emulate the potentially damaging role models passed on through genealogy. Daughters are taught to accept the roles that society assigns them, with deviant behaviour punished to ensure their sexual and social acceptance (Jewkes, 2002). Socialising boys and girls to acquiesce to the dominance of men throughout life unwittingly perpetuates and normalises violence as an acceptable or tolerable means of asserting power and resolving conflict. In this instance, violence is a demonstration of male superiority, frequently used as a solution to renegotiate ideas of masculinity or to resolve a crisis of male identity; it enforces distinct gender roles and hierarchy through the punishment of transgressions, demonstrating the low social value and power of women, and men, who do not fulfil gender role expectations (Sawicki, 1991). It is important to acknowledge here that patriarchal systems are obstacles not just to violence affecting women, but a societal problem of both sexes (Heise et al., 1994). There is a concern not only with the upholding of patriarchal heterosexual norms in relation to women, but also of broader norms of heteronormativity which affect both men and women more generally (Reddy, 2008:308). The effect upon men is also destructive, generative of a one- dimensional being, where status and power are derived from an implied or actual aggression and dominance. This gives rise to a gendered authority which often masks inadequacies, weaknesses, and may act as a barrier to the potential for meaningful and full human interaction. As masculinity is often praised and exonerated in neopatriarchal societies, and certainly within the modernisation of patriarchal dominance, men have come under pressure to conform to prescribed forms of masculinity (Srivastava, 2012). Prior research has explicitly suggested that the masculine gender role is not monolithic; rather that multiple dimensions of those exist, hence it is not a unidimensional masculine gender role that is linked to violence, but rather specific types of masculinity (Gallagher and Parratt, 2011). Hegemonic masculine gender role ideologies reflect adherence to theoretically distinct norms within a patriarchal society. Status, for example, reflects the belief that men must gain reputation and the respect of others, toughness deals with the expectation that men are emotionally and physically tough and aggressive, and perhaps most pertinently, anti-femininity which dictates that men should not engage in stereotypically feminine activities (Levinson, 1989; McNeely et al., 2001). Those who hold such traditional beliefs about the male gender roles are at risk of experiencing a great deal of stress in situations where this role is challenged, using violence as a remedy or a coping mechanism (Eshareturi et al., 2014; Gallagher and Parrott, 2011).
The inter-generational use of violence to maintain privilege and power relations has turned gradually into the systematic and global destruction of women within the institutionalisation of patriarchy (Phillips and Dustin, 2004). Violence at both macro (nation states) and micro (relationships) levels is specifically gendered and constructed by, as well as a reflection of, the power relations which constitute heteropatriarchy (Faqir, 2001). HBV has been explicitly positioned within the continuum of gendered violence, rooted in patriarchal power relations that are aggravated by cultural disparity (Dustin 2006; Franke, 2006; Harris, 2009; Yurdakul and Korteweg, 2013).
The Role of Multiculturalism
Post 9/11 islamic communities, and by association HBV, have been regarded as symbol of outright misogyny, an unwanted intrusion into europe’s ‘enlightenment’ culture, with the patriarchal or male-dominated principles that underpin these communities often seen to conflict with the values, and even laws, of mainstream UK society (Begikhani et al., 2010; Hussein, 2013). This is not to say, however, that such hierarchies of power are not already present within the UK under customary laws and regulations, the state and its mechanisms, religious norms and sanctions, popular culture, and the media (Srivastava, 2012).Violence, however, is not a monolithic phenomenon, nor the only form of abuse experienced by victimised women, and there have since been strong challenges to the traditional feminist view of gender inequality as a primary explanatory model of violence against women, with a renewed focus upon the need to examine how other forms of inequality, such as racism, ethnocentrism, class privilege, and heterosexism, interact with gender oppression and how they may translate into adequate criminal justice responses (Sokoloff and Dupont, 2005: 44). A lot of the work informing policy has been carried out by academics and women’s rights groups who have now turned their attention to problems in the multicultural framework and marginalised communities, considering the social structural underpinnings of violence in culturally diverse communities (Sokoloff and Dupont, 2005).
Multiculturalism, as may be expected, has been integral to both perpetration and how the CJS has responded, often criticised for what is said to be its complacency as regards the treatment of women, with the requirements of gender justice coming into conflict with those between cultural groups*. Policies of multicultural accommodation are, therefore, likely to have particular significance for gender roles, however this should not be solved by prioritising one over the other, a tactic used only to enhance state reputation, and leave untouched systemic inequalities in power (Phillips, 2001). For example, the acknowledgement of cultural in violence against homosexuals illustrates how culture is demonstrably selected according to context by powerful members of a group in order to preserve existing power structures such as gender hierarchies and the wider control and oppression of sexuality (Reddy, 2008; Smart, 1995). Of course it is debatable whether a genuinely multicultural state has any justification for intervening in a minority group’s affairs, even if that community systematically violates certain members basic citizenship rights. Indeed, the state has been reluctant to intervene where the application to Islam is useful (Anitha and Gill, 2010). The adoption of such a viewpoint is troublesome in that it removes state accountability for failing to intervene and further embodies relations of inequality. The theoretical protections for women dissolve in the face
* There is perhaps some acrimonious debate about the definition of multiculturalism itself. As a distinctive philosophy it seeks to achieve political unity without cultural uniformity through integration and valuing cultural difference, yet it is often criticised because it can cause reified group distinctions that fuel conflict and separatism via the production of ethnic ‘others’ (Abbas, 2004; Harris, 2009; Kymlicka, 1995; Mason and Dandeker, 2009; Schwalbe et al., 2000). Often the issue with identity politics is not that it fails to transcend difference, but rather the opposite- that it frequently conflates or ignores intra-group differences which ultimately contributes to tension among groups (Crenshaw, 1991:1257). Multicultural accommodation presents a problem when pro- identity group policies improve the status of identity groups but worsen the status of less powerful group members. The intra-group maltreatment of certain less powerful group members, in this case, women, as sanctioned by group practices, takes place against the background of multicultural accommodation policies (Shachar, 1998: 287). This makes the strong multicultural citizenship model troubling from the standpoint of the trichotomy question, precisely because it obscures the power relations within identity groups while highlighting the conflicts that exist among identity groups or between identity groups and the state.
of worries about imposition and the pressure to be viewed as culturally sensitive, with only gross and systematic violations qualifying for action (Phillips, 2001). In its crusade to integrate minority group cultural practices and norms, the multicultural model has engendered a lack of intervention and instead normalised, legitimised and increased tolerance of gendered power divisions rooted in illiberal intra-group oppression (Anitha and Gill, 2010; Hague et al., 2012; Shachar, 1998; Verkuyten, 2007). Sensitivity to ethnic or religious difference may advance the political and moral economy of criminal justice, but when combined with gender blind policy any modification or exemption has allowed for greater inequality by presenting support for the rights of one oppressed minority at the risk of jeopardising another (Phillips, 2001; Vertovec, 2007). Typically the contradictions between the ideals of multiculturalism and those of liberal democracy are masked unless they can be manipulated for political advantage (Beckett and Macey, 2001). The states refusal to acknowledge unequal differences and its adherence to the ‘rhetoric of multiracial harmony discourse’ is regressive rather than progressive (Harris, 2009: 194), exploiting social problems and weakened social structures in line with its expanding control agenda. Undoubtedly discourses of risk are mobilised and manipulated to justify instrumental political goals, changes in law and a confrontational posture against certain states are at the expense of the subjugation of civil liberties; all of which become easier to accept as they grow more pervasive and institutionalised (Mythen and Walklate, 2006; Perezalonso, 2010).
The adoption of multiculturalism within British policy has, albeit unintentionally, validated oppressive, heteronormative patriarchy grounded in minority cultural beliefs and traditions. Underpinned by notions of respecting diversity and valuing cultural difference, multiculturalism has too often become an excuse for 'moral blindness’, unwittingly engendering non-intervention when dealing with violence rooted in cultural practices in the private sphere of the home (Dustin and Phillips, 2008: 406). Honour crimes are centred within a paradox where victims are simultaneously visible, yet concealed, via multiculturalist integration policies that locate them in marginal spaces while reifying their boundaries within the cultural relativism of British multicultural discourse (Meetoo and Mirza, 2007; Yuval- Davis, 2006). Certainly post 9/11 (and indeed the 7/7
London bombings) the very principle of multiculturalism is being increasingly questioned across the political and public spectrum (Mason and Dandeker, 2009). Ethnic minorities have since attained a degree of notoriety where their visibility is immediately recognisable in negative and detrimental frames of reference within the public consciousness. Ideological manipulations in a discourse that threatens core values and social cohesion in western capitalist society produce fear and risk to justify controversial policies and rationalise increased levels of surveillance and control in the United Kingdom, legitimating existing systems of domination and subordination that are blanketed by the appeal of neutralising the ‘threat’ to the nation state (Abbas, 2004; Ahmed, 2003; Fekete, 2004; Phillips, 2001). Multiculturalism has undoubtedly proved a useful tool for the government in the division and conflict surrounding human rights and state crime, portrayed as endangering social unity, failing to address the wider problems of economic and social marginalisation whilst contradicting the liberal ideals of individualism and meritocracy (Beckett and Macey, 2001; Croft, 2007).
The implications go far beyond this over-saturated concentration on terrorism however, with distinct crimes being tied to religion and culture at the expense of gender (Almosaed, 2004). The prevalence of cultural relativism within British multicultural discourse is dually problematic; a failure to treat perpetrators of HBV with the same rigour as abusers within mainstream society precedes victims being denied the same protection of human rights afforded to majority ( Korteweg, 2012; Meetoo and Mirza, 2007; Quek, 2012). Undoubtedly, the ethnicising of crime has had a dislocating effect, with HBV remaining marginal to the mainstream violence against women agenda whilst simultaneously upholding a strategically constructed position in relation to political goals surrounding terrorism and immigration. Interestingly, both terrorism and violence against women rest crucially on the power embedded in social order to define and police certain transgressions whilst ignoring or giving little attention to others (Burman et al., 2004: Muncie, 2000). In the same way we obscure the realities of human death and injury in war by highlighting only select instances of it as uniquely problematic (Dauphinee, 2008: 52), some acts of violence against women in ethic minorities are concealed by allocating media attention only to particular areas of the associated culture that are deemed as threatening to western society, certainly those used to illustrate the alien and bizarre oppression of women, for instance Female Genital Mutilation, Forced Marriage (Revill, 2008) and the wearing of veils (Cochrane, 2013). Here the issues are only brought to the forefront when the application is purposeful. It is not the need for the protection of ethnic minority women that is revealed but rather the threat that ethnic minorities pose to the nation state (Gupta, 2003; Walklate, 2008).
In particular, the portrayal of Muslims has tended to employ a homogenising label with frameworks centred on violence, extremism, fanaticism and terrorism reflective of symbolic relationships about power and threat that are exploited by political decision makers (Altheide, 2006; Jackson, 2007). Simplistic mass media accounts decontextualise complex cultural events to reflect social narratives stemming from an understanding and experience of imperialism and colonialism, ones that demonise and construct fear within public discourse by manipulating and securing the ‘truth’ about the ‘other’ as part of the wider anti - minority discourse (Abbas, 2004; Ahmed, 2003; Douglas, 1992; Hossain and Welchman, 2005). The dangerous combination of terrorism and dehumanisation of the ‘other’ - both factors which can be created and manipulated by powerful authorities - act in accordance to perpetuate female subordination, present liberal democratic societies with ‘the temptations of nihilism’ (Ignatieff 2004: 112) and prompt us to take action that damages our own auto-immunity to tyranny and inhumanity (Day and Vandiver, 2000; Hudson, 2009). With the already fragile picture of a harmonious western society and democracy beginning to fracture, the anti-minority discourse and the ‘war on terror’ take precedence blanketing the issue of violence against women after it has been politically exploited (Abbas, 2004; Vertovec, 2007). Of course, stories that raise questions or challenge the role of state power in shaping gendered or cultural subordination are typically ignored.
Whilst it may be easier for western society to think of problems affecting minority women as solely the product of religious fundamentalism and barbaric culture (Volpp, 2001), this is a simplistic and binary explanation which fails to see and challenge the multiple, overlapping, and discrete oppressions that occur within patriarchy and power dynamics, resulting in profound limitations to theorise violence, justice, and responsibility (Dauphinee, 2008; Westlund, 1999). Reductionism linked to a terrorist focus not only diverts attention away from intra group violence and oppression, it obscures victims of cultural violence from public protection and fails to accommodate the intersectionality of structural inequalities that affect all women, blinding us from potential interventions (Beckett and Macey, 2001; Dustin and Phillips, 2008; Hossain and Welchman, 2005). This being said, it is not unreasonable to view HBV as a reactionary trend, or so-called ‘reactive culturalism’, given that honour based crimes are seen as the survival of tribal and patriarchal values, a way to halt the corrupting influence of Western culture (take the case of Shafelia Ahmed, for example), although these may be exacerbated by the experiences of translocation and social exclusion (Dutton, 2012; Phillips and Dustin, 2004). Norms around gender roles and marriage may be eroded through exposure to a more individualistic, modern society, particularly among young people raised and educated within the British system. Education and economic autonomy, although perceived as protective means against violence, are not always so (Flake and Forste, 2006), and in fact, this combination has the potential to intensify intergenerational tensions with instances of HBV resulting from conflicting attitudes towards family or community values and behavioural codes (Payton, 2014: 16).
“The mindset it’s just so backwards compared to what we think is normal these days, they're just stuck in their ways and I’m sticking to mine. I want to wear what I want, talk to who I want, not be caught up in this little bubble that is detached from the rest of the world. And for what? I don’t see the point. Plenty of times we’ve had arguments over stupid petty things, like where I’m going, who I’m going with. You can’t be seen to be doing something wrong, but something wrong in their minds is normal everywhere else.”(Faria)
Faria’s blatant determination to break free from what she sees to be a regressive culture fuels the idea that those brought up in western society are likely to have different values to their parents, particularly in relation to dress and attire codes, physical and social mobility, education, relationships with the opposite sex, and choice in love, marriage and divorce - areas where highly restrictive boundaries are usually in place. Dominant cultural attitudes have been conceptualised as standing in sharp contrast to those of liberal British values; modern day society operates with the ubiquitous perception that minority and third world cultures as more oppressive than western society, wrongly segregating gender subordination as integral only to certain cultures (Begikhani et al., 2010). The insistent presumption that ‘other' women are subjected to extreme patriarchy as ‘victims of their culture’ is developed in relation to the vision of western women as secular, liberated, and in total control of their lives, however this implied contrast is disingenuous and not grounded in material reality (Vertovec, 2007). This serves to obviate and disempower women in the most developed societies who continue to suffer from inequality, violence, and a persistent devaluation of their sex as reflected in cultural and political representations (Phillips, 2001:8). It is not simply about the normative expectations within culture, but about class hierarchy and privilege (Almosaed, 2004; Chesney-Lind, 2006; Joppke, 2004; Volpp, 2001).
Current orientalist frameworks understand HBV as a manifestation of the ‘culture clash’ between immigrant and Western cultures. The UK government has all too often dismissed honour based violence as a problem specific to a culturally distinct minority, dislocating it from mainstream political discourse that surrounds violence against women (Gill and Brah, 2013:4). Politicised categorisation presumes domestic violence as the ‘normal’, acultural, form of gender- based violence, whereas HBV becomes a facet of a divergent culture rather than an association with the patriarchal element within the culture (Gill et al., 2014; Payton, 2014; Strid et al., 2013). Such a flippant association fosters racialised representations that imply immigrant cultures and traditions to be both backward and unchanging -the inferred corollary is that Britain is post- cultural and modern by contrast. Calling upon powerful British morals and values has allowed politicians and the media to successfully attack multiculturalism; depicting immigrants as problematic outsiders who need to be carefully monitored and governed by state authorities via the implementation of integration policies (Yurdakul and Korteweg, 2013). Subsequently initiatives to protect women have become entangled with, if not pushed aside by, the emergence of anti-immigration strategies and explicit compliance, than assimilationist, overtones that are expressive of the re-orientation of the rhetoric of integration (Fekete, 2004; Joppke, 2004). Policy responses have shifted from multiculturalism towards an emphasis on social cohesion; policies which have been criticised by activists and scholars alike who argue that integration should not mean “cultural conformity and exclusive loyalty to Britain” (Nagel and Staeheli, 2008: 415). The emphasis is placed not on acculturation, but rather towards an individual compliance and commitment to state norms and principals that any socioeconomically backward regions, or traditional ideas involving gender and violence, will be eradicated with modernization - a notion based on patriarchy as a ‘solution’ to issues such as gender inequality in culture (Akpinar, 2003; Kymlicka, 1995; Mason and Dandeker, 2009; Razack, 2008 ;Yurdakul and Korteweg, 2013).
This ideological assumption is founded on the ethnocentricity of human nature; on one side we have the homogeneous British culture and on the other, the immigrant or foreign culture, both of which are viewed to be incommensurable (Stolcke, 1995). As Pierre Birnbaum (1996) observes, in contemporary multicultural theory ``individuals are [mistakenly] understood as the bearers of a single oppressive and quasi-essentialist idealised cultural identity from which no escape is possible. Such an immutable collective identity is not compatible with the expression of other identities (sexual, religious, etc.) in which some might wish to recognise themselves at certain moments of their existence’’ (Shachar, 1998: 296). The culture of minority groups is considered essential to their identities, but also as a source of deficit that prevents them from subscribing to the normative values of the majority society (Payton, 2014).
“There is constant pressure to fit in with the rest of people but you just can’t. I was living between two cultures.”(Sofia)
“Its like a battle between two worlds, you have the outside society telling you its ok to do these things and act in this way, but then at home, within your family and within your culture there’s a different set of rules.”(Maria)
Both comments here depict a clear dividing line between western and minority culture; no integration is evident. Maria’s remark in particular denotes a hint of confusion as the result of being torn between two opposing cultures, between modern society and family heritage. Individual compliance derives from subjective needs which encourage social allegiances, whilst institutional and structural imperatives represent potentially opposing concepts of individualisation and social association (Crewe, 2009: 455). Some women, as a result, find it very difficult to define their own values, custom may familiarise women with the violation of their natural rights to such an extent that, even among those who have been deprived of these rights, no one thinks of reclaiming them or is even conscious that they have suffered any injustice (Gallagher and Parrott, 2011; Quek, 2012). This is confirmed by Iqra’s comment below, far from ignorance, just simply unaware:
“When you get used to something, it becomes normal, you aren't aware that whats happening is not right, you just assume thats the way it is.”(Iqra)
Patriarchy, it seems, has become imbued with such cultural significance that all interactions, both positive and negative, send authoritative signals about society’s conflicts and hierarchies, about whose claims are considered legitimate within it, about whose status identity is to be affirmed or denied as part of it (Mols, 2012). These women, transitioning from a young age into adulthood, have consciously encountered and battled with the complex, overlapping layers of identity, interwoven with experiences of social exclusion that are heightened by the volatile political climates of racism and gender inequality. Their capacity to participate in the discourse that so narrowly defines them is restricted to their allotted roles, and they are further marginalised by the very concepts of shame and honour that act to constrain them in the first place (Hussein, 2013).
“And these breed honour: that is honour’s scorn…“
All’s Well That End’s Well,William Shakespeare(Act 2, Scene 3: 142-145)
Conclusion and Recommendations
In it’s endeavours, the research has taken heed of the some of the most prominent issues in present legal and social culture alongside criminal justice developments within a multicultural framework, unearthing further evidence and developing a deeper understanding of ideologies, concepts and practices involved in what can only be described as a complex yet inconclusive subject area.
Highlighted are a significant number of existing gaps within UK policy and legislation that fail to deal with women’s experiences of HBV, and it is clear that the gendered context in which women encounter violence is often ignored, as are the structural, political, economic, and social factors that produce and perpetuate the problem and so limit women’s power to end the violence (Gill, 2008). An interesting dynamic is displayed in that it is clear, through legislation, policy and activist circles, that there is a public intolerance for violence against women in the UK and yet perpetrators have continued to find vindication in the eyes of both law and society (Ruane, 2000). Although the legal system can provide some protection to women, there must be an acknowledgment of the limits of the law. In theory legislation exists to protect women as well as men, however social tolerance of violence, cultural norms and a lack of political will, often combine to nullify the law in practice allowing violators to act with impunity (Begikhani et al., 2010). The term ‘honour’ has, in the past, clouded culpability, exaggerating the cultural component in what remains a form of domestic violence. Of the small proportion of perpetrators actually going to trial, some exemption from generic legislation (in an attempt to facilitate the accommodation of minority communities) has overshadowed the accountability for gender based crime, not only contributing to public representations of minority groups as self governing, patriarchal and regressive, but normalising and reinforcing the social acceptability of HBV, gender violence and ultimately violence against women (Dustin and Phillps, 2008; Manjoo and McRaith, 2011; Shachar, 1998).
This being said, we cannot ignore the significant progress the UK has made in establishing effective risk assessment tools, various best practice guidelines, and specialist training for police officers and other practitioners. All implementations have been in line with the risk oriented thinking that has become pivotal to the CJS in areas such as crime prevention, offender behaviour and victim protection - all of which are collectively important in shaping and informing policy (Walklate and Mythen, 2011:100). Additionally, there has been a gradual recognition of the inadequacy of interpreting various social divisions, especially race and gender, as separate yet internally homogeneous social categories. Criminal justice policies have slowly begun to acquire a more central, holistic focus, though still operating as underhand facilitators to elements of political agenda (Yuval-Davis, 2006).
Much remains to be accomplished in terms of protection, prevention, and accountability and in the mean time, the UK must learn to avoid an over reliance on a criminal justice system that, whilst slowly beginning to engage with issues that manifest within the current British multicultural framework, remains to offer a simplistic, blanket solution to the complex and difficult issue of violence against women. Criminal justice policy, and wider society, should reject oversimplified cultural reasoning as an explanation for complex relational processes, and instead reshape the multicultural model to adopt an intersectionist view (Shachar, 1998), one that acknowledges the multidimensionality of victim experiences and encompasses several potential disadvantages that women in particular are exposed to. Identity politics have demonstrated the difficulty women face in disassociating the self from the pervasive and evocative influences of ethnicity, western culture, citizenship and criminal justice (Millings, 2013). These combined with the intersecting structural conditions of poverty, isolation, racism, sexism, and homophobia, all highlight a pressing need for improved services, mutual heightened awareness and mainstreaming within the statutory sector to better equip individuals with the means to significantly alter their situations (Hague et al, 2012:154).
Fundamentally, the government should take a definitive stance on honour based violence and implement a unique legislation and set of policies which clearly outline how HBV will be managed in England and Wales. A formalisation of the recognition of HBV could also compensate for the difficulties in comprehending this very complicated phenomenon for non-specialists, particularly through standardising reactions to HBV by potential first responders: avoiding tragedies of misrecognition by ensuring that those who need enhanced protection receive it, but also that those who do not are neither inconvenienced nor traumatised through excessive and unnecessary interventions (Payton, 2014:6). Further complications are still possible however, with several women’s rights organisations continuing to express that the criminalisation of forced marriage and honour crimes may discourage victims from accessing help and there is little informed support for male victims (Chesney - Lind, 2006). Feminist protests have, commendably, been responsible for increased attention to violence against women, but it remains they have not adequately addressed the tensions between state accountability and victim autonomy (Gill, 2008).
Below are some recommendations for change inspired by the findings of previous literature, the current study and contemporary political movements.
- A current lack of empirical evidence on HBV, a woefully underreported phenomenon within the UK, prompts further investigation into the prevalence and impact of honour crimes within minority communities to determine appropriate response strategies and aid the construction of a better working definition of HBV (Gallagher and Parrot, 2011; Walker, 2012). It may also be beneficial, if not more challenging, for future variations of this research to engage with male participants, whether they be perpetrators, recipients or just have lived experience of HBV.
- There is a need to solidify the UK’s intolerance of honour crimes and to demonstrate a commitment that justice will form a bedrock of governance in the present and future.
Further development of legislation is necessary, beginning with a solid definition and an independent classification of HBV. Collectivity has created challenges for protection policies, particularly where the existing conceptualisation of violence against women, and the responses developed from that conceptualisation, pivot on the model of domestic violence (Payton, 2014).
- Prosecution should not be taken lightly; honour and culture are not mitigating but aggravating factors.
The law may mirror prevailing attitudes, but it also holds the power to shape and enforce a new set of societal values for the long-term. If any changes in cultural attitudes toward the practice of honour crimes are to be successful, all laws or judicial practices that legitimise or sanction these crimes must be repealed - not just HBV but GBV and VAW more widely (Ruane, 2000).
- National standardised strategies alongside mandatory training for criminal justice agencies and all professionals involved in addressing HBV, in particular the police as one of the first points of contact with the victim.
Training the police force in the specificities of honour crime reduces failures in intervening, identifying and enforcing procedures to protect women- it is paramount that those charged with protecting the public are able to identify and understand the risk factors associated with HBV, and all forms of VAW, so that they can respond effectively (Gill and Brah, 2013; Hague et al., 2012).
- While the recognition of intersectionality is required for good quality policy, it is the way in which this is achieved that is particularly significant. There is a need for an intersectional approach that does not silence groups positioned at the point of intersection of two or more inequalities, nor invisibilise the multiple inequalities that are evident in policy (Shachar, 1998; Strid et al., 2013).
Whilst some explain violence against women as part and parcel of the universal patriarchal domination, others use cultural reductionist explanations. The defenders of the first position are inclined to think that honour has nothing to do with murder and that the explanation cannot be relegated to immigrant cultures but to patriarchal culture in general (Akipinar, 2003). Those who insist upon following the social and ideological assumption that patriarchy and power relations alone cause violence lead us toward conclusions that do not consider a full array of explanatory variables from other disciplines (Dutton and Corvo, 2006). Problematically, the gender paradigm does not care for the disparate etiologies from which these actions stem, nor that common grouping deflects focus from the etiologies and their subsequent remediation (Dutton, 2012: 101). It is necessary however, to consider the wider context by maintaining the focus on intersectionality, accepting that violence against women cannot sit within one policy framework alone given that global patriarchal interests overlap with systems that also reinforce social, political and economic privilege (Chesney- Lind, 2006; Crenshaw, 1991; Sokoloff and Dupont, 2005).
Additionally, it is vital to acknowledge that gender and culture are not interchangeable concepts, one should not be benefitted at the expense of the other, the treatment of cultural differences will not erase existing structural inequalities within the state. Initiatives to end HBV must take account of the complex, interlocking system of patriarchal values both within culture and those already present within the state, if any progress is to be made (Gill, 2008).
- Some introductory measures within the UK have been less effective than anticipated, partly because of a focus on punishment and legal remedies rather than support and prevention; where HBV is conceptualised as punitive, we fail to apprehend that it has a contingent rather than proportionate nature (Payton, 2014). A sole reliance on the formal, institutional power of criminal justice system should be avoided by introducing a system of parallel justice based in the communities where the offences occur (Gill, 2009), alongside acting on the possibility of locating solutions within minority groups (Meeto and Mirza, 2007).
The involvement of local people is key to raise awareness and challenge HBV, although less emphasis should be placed on mediation through ‘community leaders’ and women from minority communities should be incorporated into discussions relating to HBV and the issues that affect their welfare (Gupta, 2003).
- Attention must be paid to changing the cultural attitudes that underpin HBV and from an intersectional perspective, violence needs to be understood in the context of migration, the receiving country's culture and politics, the ongoing racialisation in the West, as well as the changing gender relations within both immigrant and/or minority communities and majority society (Yurdakul and Korteweg, 2013).
Stereotypical forms can entirely encompass women’s experiences of violence within minority groups due to overlapping categorisations, demonstrating the need for a more complex model to inform the development, implementation, and funding of services to address gender-based violence in all its forms (Kulczycki and Windle, 2011; Payton, 2014).
It is imperative to acknowledge cultural specificity by taking into consideration social inequalities within the framework of an interrelated spectrum of structural inequalities in the host society (Alund, 1999). VAW, under this reasoning, is not an issue of race or ethnic differences; it is a question of economic, political and social development and the levels of democracy and devolution of power within communities (Gill, 2006; Strid et al., 2013).
- There needs to be a greater insistence on public education and awareness-raising on VAW, gender violence, and its particular subsets within both minority and majority communities via education and health sectors.
- Better prioritising of government funding is necessary to expand specialist voluntary services.
It is imperative that victims are consistently referred to appropriately funded sources of support, and the lack of state investment in dedicated criminal justice and specialist support services (with many under serious threat as a result of the cutbacks in coalition government funding) has meant that women’s organisations are struggling to meet the needs of violated women. At present, an absence of a witness protection program, shelters and refuges alongside a weakness in monitoring mechanisms and follow-up procedures by shelters and government units after they facilitate the return of victims to their homes, highlights the urgent need for properly resourced women’s support projects, refuges and outreach services, together with awareness-raising programs and welfare measures, which could then work alongside the improved criminal justice initiatives (Begikhani et al., 2010).
- The promotion of mens groups to actively address the male role in VAW as a primary prevention technique and allocating international aid for preventing violence against women.
It is not only about responding effectively to violence when it occurs, but also about preventing VAW from happening in the first place. Very recently, the United Nations (UN) Women launched the 2014 ‘He For She’ campaign; a solidarity movement for gender equality, a radical, fresh approach seeking to get men involved as advocates for change in all aspects, including VAW.
Gender equality has rapidly become the ubiquitous yardstick for measuringwhether governments, and in turn criminal justice institutions, uphold standards of fairness, justice, and adherence to liberal principles in a multitude of governance domains (Okin, 1991; Shachar, 2001). In both political and public debate, gender equality is often poorly defined, usually contextualised as a women’s issue rather than a human rights issue, and used as a blunt concept leading to one-size-fits-all policies that stand in tension with discourses on culture. The state is repeatedly seen to be tipping dangerously between universalising what are merely western ideas of morality and equality, or tolerating human rights violations for the sake of multi- cultural accommodation. One problem with this, particularly with the contextualisation of individuals within multiculturalism, is that we experience the hypocrisy and dishonesty of those who draw upon the language of gender equality to characterise communities as alien, backward and pre-modern, but otherwise exhibit no interest in sexual equality (Phillips, 2001; Yurdakul and Korteweg, 2013).
Of course, involving men in the work of obviating violence against women presents several dangers: the dilution of a feminist agenda, the lessening of resources for the victims and survivors of this violence, and the marginalisation of women’s voices and leadership. However, these dangers overlap in gender- related programming and policy in general (Flood, 2011:360), and the powerful feminist rationale propels this, trifold in nature, is compelling and practical. First, and most imperative, efforts to prevent VAW must incorporate men given that the cohort of perpetrators is largely male (Flood, 2011). Second, it is the social constructions and interpretations of masculinity that play a crucial role within violence at the individual level, in families and relationships, in communities, and societies as a whole. Finally, the campaign harbours the belief that men have a positive role to play, as activists, as preventers, as catalysts for change (UN Women, 2014).
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Appendix A: List of Cases and External Links
Banaz Mahmood, 20, London Murdered by father, uncle and male cousins for leaving an arranged marriage and having a boyfriend
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VepuyvhHYdM - Banaz, A Love Story: Documentary 2012.
Heshu Yones, 16, West London - Murdered by father for having a relationship with a Lebanese Christian man
http://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/spl/aberdeen/where-is-the-honour-in-her- murder-heshu-yones-and-shahida-mohammed-died-at-their-fathers-hands-in-so- called-honour-killings-but-their-brutal-deaths-have-no-place-in-islam-learns- jennifer-cunningham-1.106453
Rukhsana Naz , 18, Derby - Murdered by brother and mother for wanting to divorce husband and being pregnant with an illegitimate child from boyfriend
Shafilea Ahmed, 17, Warrington - - Murdered by parents for becoming too westernized
NOTE: The cases of Banaz Mahmod and Shafelia Ahmed were perhaps, most notably, a haven for media attention. The state uses these examples of violence against women as a way of defining the moral and social boundaries of exclusion and inclusion, with policy capturing and presenting representations of ‘dangerous’ and ‘problematic’ ethnic minorities (Strid et al., 2013). Careful exploitation of individual tragedies depict an intolerance and an undesirability which etch upon public consciousness, creating an opportunity for rhetoric to overhaul objective expert analysis, a sense of shared identity that influences debates of immigration and religious tolerance, even in the absence of confirming or disconfirming evidence (those who insist on sound evidence will not only become regarded as not fully committed to the group but accused of naivety and an inability to recognise an imminent threat (Mols, 2012: 338). A policy focusing on the tightening of immigration controls does nothing to address HBV, nor indeed VAW, and is in fact a dismissive technique that could be accused of thinly legitimising racism whilst serving as a barrier to women fleeing abuse from other countries (Heise et al., 1994).
APPENDIX B: HM Government Recommendations Regarding Subjectivity
Treat any information disclosed as merely ‘domestic’ or dismiss out of hand the need for immediate protection.
Decide that it is not your responsibility to follow-up the concern.
Attempt to be a mediator or encourage mediation, reconciliation, arbitration or family counselling
APPENDIX C: Participant Information Sheet
PARTICIPANT INFORMATION SHEET
Title of Project: Patriarchy, Culture and Violence Against Women: A Qualitative,
Theoretical and Empirical Analysis of Criminal Justice Responses to Honour Based Violence in the United Kingdom.
Researcher: Sara Kathrada
You are being invited to take part in a research study but before you decide, it is important that you understand why the research is being conducted and what it involves. Please take time to read the following information and ask if there is anything that is unclear, or if you would like further information. Then take time to decide if you would like to take part.
1. What is the purpose of the study?
This study aims to investigate the experiences of minority women who have been exposed to some form of Honour Based Violence and who may have been overlooked, or inadequately addressed, by criminal justice mechanisms that are seen to offer a simplistic, blanket solutions to a complex and difficult issue that requires a more sensitive and nuanced response. It attempts to provide an accurate representation of the required societal and authoritative needs, illuminating the interactions and potential discrepancies between criminal justice policy, responses and multiculturalism within the wider context of violence against women.
2. Who can take part?
Asian females who have experienced or are susceptible to Honour Based Violence are being recruited for this particular research. Unfortunately if you do not meet these requirements you are unable to participate as you do not fulfil the eligibility criteria.
3. Do I have to take part?
No. As previously mentioned, it is up to you to decide whether or not to take part. If you do, you will be provided with this information sheet and asked to sign a consent form. You are still free to withdraw at any time and without giving a reason. A decision to withdraw will not affect your rights, any future treatment or any service you receive.
4. What will happen to me if I take part?
You will be asked to engage in an informal interview which may take from at least 30 minutes to over an hour.
5. Are there any risks / benefits involved?
Given the secretive and sensitive nature of the topic, you may feel that you are vulnerable for any number of reasons. The safety of participants is of paramount concern to the researcher, and therefore again you are reminded that you have the right to withdraw at any point during the study without providing a reason. Details of counselling services, helplines and other organisations will be provided should you feel you require further support.
There are no outright benefits associated with taking part, however the findings may help the researcher gain an insight into criminal justice policy adequacy, minority culture behaviour and may be the foundation of developing sufficient awareness, prevention models and further support systems for Honour Based Violence. It may also be the case that engaging in the research may hold therapeutic benefits.
6. Will my taking part in the study be kept confidential?
Any information you provide will be kept strictly confidential. You will be allocated a pseudonym and therefore the information you provide cannot be identified nor associated with you. All recordings, once transcribed, will be destroyed. You are requested to provide the researcher with a signed or initialled consent form which will be kept by the researcher, separate from the any other information you provide. This, alongside the interview transcripts, will be stored securely for viewing only by the researcher. After it has been used, it will be destroyed.
7. Has this study been approved by an ethics committee?
LJMU Research Ethics Panel has assessed the research study and approved it.
8. Who to contact with enquires about this study?
If you have any queries about this study or would simply like more information concerning the research, please do not hesitate to contact Sara Kathrada.
APPENDIX D Consent Form
PARTICIPANT CONSENT FORM
Project title: Patriarchy, Culture and Violence Against Women : A Qualitative,
Theoretical and Empirical Analysis of Criminal Justice Responses to Honour Based Violence in the United Kingdom.
Researcher: Sara Kathrada
1. I confirm that I have read and understand the information provided for the above study. I have had the opportunity to consider the information, ask questions and have had these answered satisfactorily
2. I understand that my participation is voluntary and that I am free to withdraw at any time, without giving a reason and that this will not affect my legal rights.
3. I understand that any personal information collected during the study will be anonymised and remain confidential
4. I agree to take part in the above study
Initials of Participant Date Signature
Name of Researcher Date Signature
APPENDIX E Debrief Sheet
Thank you for your participation in this study.
Given the use of pseudonyms, it is possible to access your data set should you so wish. Please note however this is only for a limited time period as after transcription, all recordings will have been deleted, and upon completion of analysis the transcripts will be destroyed.
Questionnaire: As the data is kept completely anonymous, it is not possible to obtain your individual data set
If you would like to know the overall findings of the research, would like further information or would simply like to comment on your experience, please do not hesitate to contact Sara Kathrada.
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