Honour is a very strong cultural issue in many faith communities in Britain, and in families where honour codes are felt, a woman has to uphold the family’s honour. This is quite a deep topic and some parts may be difficult to read but I still wanted to share the extreme side to interfaith marriage and honour.
Honour codes can mean that women (and sometimes men) are forced into marriage, a situation very different from a willingly accepted arranged marriage. If women act in ways that are perceived to bring dishonour on the family they are likely to face pressure, and in a proportion of families the pressure is so great that women are at risk.
There are approximately a dozen honour-related killings in the UK each year, and several thousand worldwide, whilst many more women are subject to physical abuse of various kinds. The suicide rate amongst young Asian women in the UK is three times that of white women in the same age group.
In some situations a few people find their relationship choices involve a risk to their own safety. The ‘honour killings’ which have occurred in Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and Christian communities are murder, and are never religiously sanctioned, even though those who are guilty sometimes try to justify their actions on religious grounds. If you, your partner or anyone else you know is at risk, you must get help.
The word honour is something that I’ve grown up with (not from my parents – they’re cool) but from how you must honour this and never bring dishonour to your family. Which reminds me of Mulan – bring honour to us all (see video below).
As much as I love this film, this song portrays how much pressure families can put on their (especially) daughters to bring honour to the family. It’s so sad because you can clearly see she’s meant to shine in her own way. The word honour is strongly linked to ego and I believe no good can come from anything when there’s a ego in the way.
When you hear stories about how parents kill their own daughter because she fell in love with someone outside of their faith, it literally breaks my heart and makes me so angry. Some parent’s egos are so large that they would rather kill their children than see them happy in love. People like that do not deserve to be parents. It’s ironic because most religions are peaceful and teach you to be a good person, yet these mental parents do the complete opposite for their ‘God’. As mentioned earlier, they try to justify it but there is nothing to justify those awful actions.
It’s no surprise that some couples are absolutely terrified to tell their parents about their interfaith relationship. (I’m not saying all parents are extremists, but it’s fear of the unknown. Not knowing their reaction). It’s the fear of bringing dishonour to the family if your parents always want you to bring honour to them. *sighs*
This is a topic that can go on for a very long time as there are many different stories and elements to those in interfaith relationships and marriages. If anyone reading this needs advice or help when it comes to interfaith relationships, weddings, marriages etc, please do not hesitate to email me as I’ll be more than happy to help out.