Honour Based Violence

Honour is not a physical object that can be broken by certain behaviours. It is an absorbed code of conduct or a conditioning that certain communities carry out sub-consciously.

This liquid concept is damaged by perceptions and external knowledge of unacceptable behaviours. There is less concern initially for the act and far more concern about preventing others from knowing about it.

The "honour" mentality tends to be a feature of what is sometimes called the “shame" culture. “Shame" is not really an accurate term, but there is no specific term in English to describe this value. “THAR”, the Arabic term meaning blood vengeance, embodies many of the attributes of the "honour" or "feud" mentality, and comes from one of the worlds’ largest languages and cultures, where these values are widespread.

Variations of this concept can be found in many countries and cultures around the world, and there are many different terms which mean honour. Some examples are:
  • Pocast (Croatian)
  • chinese (Chinese)
  • Honorowac (Czech)
  • Sharaf (Arabic/Iranian)
  • Honorirati (Spanish)
  • L'honneur (French)
  • arabic (Arabic)
  • Izzat (South Asian)
  • south asian/arabic (South Asian/Arabic)
Although no major world faith condones violence and the taking of a life, honour based violence is often associated with Islam. The Islamic perspective however is very clear, The Holy Qur’an states

“If you take one life it is as though you have taken the life of all humanity. If you save one life it is as though you have saved the life of all humanity”

Although there are many factors that can increase and decrease a family or individual’s honour, the main responsibility of upholding this rests with females, particularly girls in their teens and early twenties. A family’s reputation is based almost exclusively on the behaviour of their women – dress, choice of career, and friendships, could all impact on a family’s honour.