BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

BBC Homepage
BBC Radio

Contact Us

Hitting Home
 Hitting Home

Official Website
Safety Warning - read this first


Reports from the Domestic Front
Language Programmes
More BBC Programmes



  Real Life Stories

Read real life stories
  Asian Women

Shame and honour
Forced marriage and restrictions on lifestyle
Dowry-related Abuse
Suicide and Self-harm
Immigration and Asylum


  External Links

Kiran's Asian Women's Aid
Immigration Advisory Service

  For all ages

CBBC - (kids)
Onion Street - (teens)
SO - (teens)
One Life - (young adults)

Issues facing Asian women  Other Topics:

Dowry-related Abuse
Suicide and Self-harm
Immigration and Asylum
Asian women and domestic violence

Shame and honour

Within the community, women are subject to powerful traditional practices such as izzat (honour) and sharam (shame). Women are expected to uphold the honour of the family by conforming to certain prescribed roles, as the dutiful and obedient wife and daughter, who accepts or tolerates domestic violence rather than leave home. Failure to do so results in being treated as a social outcast by their extended family and wider community. They are accused of having brought shame on their family honour and are ostracised, harassed and even subject to acts of violence.

In "honour killings" for instance, minority women may be killed by family or community members. These killings or other honour crimes such as assaults and abuse are justified as punishment for having brought shame on the honour of the family and that of the wider community.

Forced marriage and restrictions on lifestyle

Many young Asian women and girls may experience forced marriage, which is different from an arranged marriage. An arranged marriage is where there is free and valid consent of both parties. A forced marriage is where there is any duress, whether physical or mental, to marry without the free and valid consent of one or both parties. Duress can involve anything from emotional and social pressures, to assaults, threatening behaviour, imprisonment, abduction and in a few extreme cases, suicide and murder. Abduction can involve deceiving or forcing a woman or girl to go abroad, such as to the Indian Sub-Continent, and subject them to forced marriage and other abuses once they arrive. Most cases involve subtle social and emotional pressures to marry against your will.

Restrictions on lifestyle is controlling behaviour by the abuser, such as parents, husbands, in-laws and other family members, which seeks to impose social isolation, imprisonment and limitations on freedom to socialise or associate with others, form sexual relationships, exercise the right to choose dress and deny educational or career opportunities. Forced marriage and restrictions on lifestyle are imposed on Asian and other minority women because of the need to control female sexuality and preserve family honour.
Message Board  Statistics
 "Does Asian culture allow for domestic violence to become more prevalent then in other cultures? Why do you think that is?...".

Join in the discussion...
  "It's estimated that police receive a call from a victim of domestic violence every minute. "
(Betsy Stanko, 2000).

More stats...

BBC Hitting Home Helpline: 08000 934 934
Lines are open until midnight, from 5th February until 28th March.

All content within BBCi HEALTH is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. The BBC is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content of the BBCi HEALTH website. The BBC is not liable for the contents of any external internet sites listed, nor does it endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advised on any of the sites. Always consult your own GP if you're in any way concerned about your health.

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy