Yerden recently said that honor violence was hyped in the Netherlands.
There is much more domestic violence among Turks and Moroccans than had been assumed until now. In at least two thirds of Turkish and Moroccan families there's physical or mental violence, says cultural anthropologist Ibrahim Yerden of the University of Amsterdam.
This is based on a new study which he will present to minister of justice Ernst Hirsch Ballin at the end of May.
According to data from the ministry of justice, 21% of Turks and 14% of Moroccans have been victims of domestic violence. Yerden says these numbers are too rosy, since the ministry researchers have asked the wrong questions. He says the method doesn't agree with the target group.
In his study Yerden expresses sharp criticism of the police and prosecution, who according to him take a too hard approach towards domestic violence offenders. Yerden says that punishment alone does not help, since it doesn't break the tradition. When the offenders return to their family, they continue committing violence. Yerden says that Moroccans and Turks must learn that violence in not permissible in the Netherlands, and that should start already in school.
Omer was one of 134 Turks and Moroccans who participated in the study. One time he hit his daughter so hard with the vacuum cleaner tube that it broke into two. He later flogged her with a CD-player cord until she lost consciousness.
Turkish Omer says that whoever doesn't respect him as a father, gets his pay. He had instructed his daughter to marry her cousin and when she protested he blew a fuse. He says his honor was attacked.
According to Yerden, Moroccan and Turkish families are confused. In traditional families the role-division is clear: the wife and children must be obedient to the man. If they don't do as he wants, physical or mental violence is permissible.
But in the Netherlands, Turkish and Moroccan women often have a job and a good education. They are more independent. Yerden says that if the wife works during the day, she wouldn't want to do housework in the evenings on her own, and that causes conflicts because the man is afraid that his family and acquaintances won't see him as a 'real man'.
Islam doesn't play much of a role. Domestic violence is cultural, says Yerden.
Many offenders don't realize they're transgressing the law. Omer also didn't think he did anything wrong. Yerden says that when he spoke to Omer he said: Do you know that in the Netherlands you can't force your wife to have sex? Omer didn't understand. It's his wife and his penis, why should the government interfere?
Most interviewed women don't turn quickly to help, because they feel the help authorities don't' understand them.
Source: De Stentor, Bn De Stem (Dutch)
See also: Netherlands: The hype of honor murders