Everyone can sometimes feel that they are unable to live their lives the way they want to because of reactions from friends and family. However, if you are scared that your actions may lead to violence from your family, and the community you may be experiencing so-called ‘honour based’ violence.
So-called honour based violence is a crime or incident, which has or may have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and/or community. Honour can be seen to be undermined by many things; including: a woman having a boyfriend; rejecting a forced marriage; pregnancy outside of marriage; interfaith relationships; seeking divorce, inappropriate dress or make-up and even kissing in a public place.
So-called honour based violence can exist in any culture. Most victims are women but men can also be victims. It is important to understand that this is not a crime which is only committed by men, sometimes female relatives will support, incite or assist. It is also not unusual for younger relatives to be selected to undertake the abuse as a way to protect senior members of the family. So-called honour based violence is against the law and support is available to help you keep safe.
If you are feeling pressurised into marrying someone, or you feel that you have no say in the decision, you may be being forced into a marriage. Whether the marriage is taking place abroad or here in the UK, it is important to understand that you have the right to say no, and that support is available.
Both men and women, of different ages, communities and backgrounds can be victims of a forced marriage. It is important to remember that forced marriage is not a ‘cultural or religious’ issue, it can be experienced by people from different cultural groups, and is condemned by every major religion.
It is important not to confuse ‘forced’ marriage with ‘arranged’ marriage. An arranged marriage is when the families are involved in helping to choose the marriage partner, but it is the choice of both the bride and groom whether they want to get married or not. A forced marriage is when they have no choice or feel that they have no choice.
Abuse and violence is not acceptable. If you or someone you know is a victim, report it and get help.
Call 999 if a crime is happening now or you're in immediate danger.
If you can’t use a voice phone, you can register with the police text service – text REGISTER to 999. You will get a text which tells you what to do next. Do this when it is safe so you can text when you are in danger.
If you need urgent police help through the 999 service but cannot speak call 999, you will be connected to a phone operator who will ask which service you need.
On a mobile:
On a landline phone:
How to report it if you are not in immediate danger:
If you think you are experiencing any type of abuse, it is important to remember that it is not your fault and that there is support available.
If you are unsure, go with your instincts, if it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. You may feel alone and that no-one can help you; but many people experience abuse and there are many services that can provide support.
You can speak to your teacher, GP, work colleague or any other trusted professional. Speaking to someone about what you are going through can help you to feel less alone and can support you in understanding your options.
A personal safety plan is a way of helping you to protect yourself. It helps you plan in advance for the possibility of future violence and abuse. It also helps you to think about how you can increase your safety either within the relationship, or if you decide to leave. Read Women's Aid advice for making a personal safety plan.
Offers crisis support, safe temporary supported housing and long-term support to women and children experiencing domestic abuse including Forced Marriage and Honour Based violence. You can contact 0117 925 0680 to speak in confidence to a forced marriage and honour based violence specialist.
Based in Bristol, they provide training and support to a range of professionals, communities, schools, universities, professional bodies and any other relevant group on the issues of forced marriage and honour-based violence.
A National Charity that supports both men and women who are victims of Forced Marriage and Honour Based Abuse. It runs a national helpline offering direct support and guidance to victims. UK Helpline: 0800 5999 247
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office provides information about forced marriage and can intervene to make you safe. If you or someone you know is being forced to marry in the UK or abroad, contact the Forced Marriage Unit on 0207 0080151.
Supporting victims of honour based violence, forced marriage and FGM. You can call them on 01642 683 045 or email email@example.com.
Supporting victims of honour based violence, forced marriage and FGM. You can call them on 07480 621711 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.