Girls' response to honor-related violence

Jun 18, 2012

Girls in families characterised by strong social control often live a double life. Yet the roles and relations in these families are much less static than commonly thought, according to a new doctoral thesis from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Honour-related and oppression has become a social problem. But the phenomenon is far more multifaceted and dynamic than typically portrayed in media. These are some of the findings presented by Siv-Britt Björktomta in her doctoral thesis, which is based on interviews with eleven 16-20 year old females who live in families characterised by strong patriarchal control. The interviewees expressed that they live with restrictions and control of their social life and sexuality.

'My study explores the from the perspective of the daughters,' says Björktomta.

The thesis focuses on the girls' strategies to handle conflicts between norms in the family and in the surrounding majority society. They were not allowed to have a boyfriend and had to accept a strict virginity requirement, which restricted their space for action in many ways. Their stories show how the idea that a daughter's virginity is the symbol of the family's reputation and honour meant that they had to shoulder the burden of being cultural symbols and boundary markers – with moral implications – between the 'Swedish' and the 'non-Swedish'.

The described a family situation characterised by control, harassment, emotional blackmailing, threats and physical violence. The father's authority and power were taken as given in all families. At the same time, resistance against the boyfriend ban and the virginity requirement was presented by all the interviewees – implying that they lived a double life. Yet the resistance did affect how the parents, and the fathers in particular, exercised their power. Both norms and family relations were in constant movement, and in some families there were signs of increased gender equality, whereas the violence was escalating in others.

Almost all studied young women said that family belonging has to be earned. They described a patriarchal family structure at the same time as they were longing for a more democratic and negotiating .

Explore further: Can new understanding avert tragedy?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

For family violence among adolescents, mattering matters

Apr 18, 2011

Adolescents who believe they matter to their families are less likely to threaten or engage in violence against family members, according to a new study led by Brown University sociologist Gregory Elliott. The research s ...

More children in Europe with Swedish family policy

Oct 04, 2011

European politicians who want women to have more children should consider the Swedish model with subsidised child care and paid parental leave. This is the conclusion of a new doctoral thesis from the University of Gothenburg.

Study reveals the heavy toll anorexia takes on families

Apr 08, 2008

While the primary focus of media attention and medical treatment is the individual's battle with anorexia nervosa, research from University of Western Sydney reveals that anorexia can have a long term impact on the physical, ...

Recommended for you

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

7 hours ago

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

10 hours ago

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Creative activities outside work can improve job performance

22 hours ago

Employees who pursue creative activities outside of work may find that these activities boost their performance on the job, according to a new study by San Francisco State University organizational psychologist Kevin Eschleman ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

bredmond
not rated yet Jun 19, 2012
not directly relevant to this article, but i have considered lately why society encourages sex. i am suspicious that sex forms emotional attachments that are hard to ignore, and could lead to continued involvements in relationships that are not ideal. or a large sex life could lead to more feelings of detachment. but eventually, i dont know for sure and feel there should be more scientific data on this before a decision is made. but this article shows more about a power struggle. i am talking about a discouragement of sex between people outside of marriage from all people in society because of the psychological harm it could cause...that is if the data supports it of course.

More news stories

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Roman dig 'transforms understanding' of ancient port

(Phys.org) —Researchers from the universities of Cambridge and Southampton have discovered a new section of the boundary wall of the ancient Roman port of Ostia, proving the city was much larger than previously ...

Crowd-sourcing Britain's Bronze Age

A new joint project by the British Museum and the UCL Institute of Archaeology is seeking online contributions from members of the public to enhance a major British Bronze Age archive and artefact collection.

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...

Deadly human pathogen Cryptococcus fully sequenced

Within each strand of DNA lies the blueprint for building an organism, along with the keys to its evolution and survival. These genetic instructions can give valuable insight into why pathogens like Cryptococcus ne ...

Researchers discover target for treating dengue fever

Two recent papers by a University of Colorado School of Medicine researcher and colleagues may help scientists develop treatments or vaccines for Dengue fever, West Nile virus, Yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis and other ...