People have recently been tweeting at me for some clarification around the motivations of perpetrators of HBV. It’s something that is, emotionally, very hard to grasp: many parents and siblings can’t imagine deliberately inflicting violence upon a sister, daughter or niece because of a sense of shame.
We have to recognise that when we think that we’d show support and solidarity to a ‘shamed’ family member, we are saying this from a very different starting point: we are speaking as members of individualistic, loose-knit societies. Aref Abu-Rabia (2011, p. 38), says that the perpetration of an ‘honour’ killing should be considered ‘an organized social act by the family, not a matter of personal preference.’ Collectivist, tight-knit societies place much heaver burdens upon their members and have harsher responses to deviance. A loose-knit society might find a little deviance acceptable, even adding a pleasing touch of eccentricity and character, and there is more tolerance for a diversity of opinions. However, tight societies will tend to punish comparatively minor transgressions. The ‘tightest’ societies are often the most homogenous, those which have recent histories of agrarian production, and those which have experienced societal trauma like war and occupation. Read more