Honor used to justify abuse
Honor-based abuse is often hidden, because the perpetrator is usually a close relative who believes that the victim will or has dishonored them or the family.
Young women and LGBTQ+ people are at the highest risk of honor-based abuse. This happens when there is a strong incongruity between the society they live in and their family’s culture, and the reputation and the honor of the family is set above their well-being and right to self determination. It is a breach of human rights when family honor is set higher than the freedom of the individual.
Examples of honor-based abuse are when:
- You are not permitted to choose your romantic partner or spouse.
- Your family makes you feel bad when you adapt "too much" to your new culture.
- Your family controls who you can spend time with.
- A family member monitors your phone or email to see who you are communicating with.
- You must go straight home after school and are not allowed to participate in sports or social activities.
- You are not allowed to choose your friends and only allowed to have friends of the same background.
- You are not allowed to choose how to spend your own money.
- Your family acts as if you have disgraced them if you do not follow their rules exactly.
- A family member forces you to marry someone you don’t want to marry.
- You are threatened with violence if you do not end relationships with friends or romantic partners they do not approve of.
- Your family speaks badly of cultures other than your own in order to control you.
- You are prevented from returning to Iceland after summer vacation.
It can be difficult to recognize such situations and get out of them. It can involve leaving your family, which is often the only thing that you have in a new country. You can contact Bjarkarhlíð in Reykjavík or Bjarmahlíð in Akureyri, which specialize in assisting with all forms of abuse. Keep in mind that abuse is never acceptable and it is possible to get out of such situations.
Everyone, both adults and children, can also talk to someone at 1717 (Red Cross helpline).