Finland: Killings just tip of honour violence iceberg

Finland: Killings just tip of honour violence iceberg

“It is a coincidence and good luck that nobody in Finland has been murdered for the honour of the family”, says Rewbar Karimi, an expert in honour conflicts working at the Finnish League for Human Rights.

He emphasises that it is in the interests of immigrants to speak openly about their problems. “Labelling all Muslims, or some groups of immigrants as oppressors of women does not do anyone any good.”

He feels that it would be better to talk about how to avoid the mistakes that have been made in other European countries.

Violence aimed at restoring the honour of a community made the headlines at the end of last year after Ibrahim Shkupolli killed his former girlfriend and four others.

Although Shkupolli was from a culture where a traditional concept of honour prevails, the shooting was domestic violence, and not an honour killing.

Karim says that honour conflicts are common in Finland among immigrants from cultures with traditional concepts of honour.

Violence linked with honour is not limited to murders, several of which have already been committed in Sweden, for instance. There is an array of coercion, isolation, as well as psychological and physical violence. The targets are primarily women and girls, but at times men who have violated the rules of their community are also victims.

The conflicts nearly always involve sexual morality.

“When sex morality is freer in the new culture than in the old culture of the immigrant family, the whole community feels threatened and starts to fear that something will happen.”

“Families try to protect girls to keep them from doing anything immoral. Girls face suspicions, and they want to show their family that they are moral”, Karimi says, describing how conflicts originate.

Pressure and threats are more common than physical violence. The pressure gets teenage girls especially to resort to extreme self control. They are afraid that they might hurt their family’s honour, and this causes anguish, depression, and suicidal thoughts.

In extreme cases, the girls are threatened with being sent to their home countries, or even with death, if the girl is suspected of having violated sexual morality.

For of fear of immoral behaviour, there are sometimes attempts to marry off the girls as early as possible. This results in pressuring, and forcing girls into marriage, as well as child marriages.

A religious marriage can be sealed even if the partners are underage. “I would be surprised if this never happened in Finland.”


Source: HS (English)

No comments: