No honor repression on my watch
This a must read, thanks to Reinhard for sending it my way. The article is a cleaned up version of a Google Translation, my apologies if the syntax is lacking. KGS
TYRANNY We note that honor repression has been accused of racism, but forced marriages exist in Sweden. Therefore, government presents today a new strategy to prevent young people becoming marry against their will, writes Nyamko Sabuni (PF).
A girl in Malmö was married when she was in fifth grade. The following year she started in sixth grade. Still too young to drive a moped, see adult films at the cinema or even get the scores. By that time she lived with her husband and gave birth to her first child. This was depicted in a series of articles about forced marriages in Sydsvenska Dagbladet. “At least 25 Skånish [region in the south of Sweden] high school girls are reported to be married every summer without society reacting”.
(Reinhard: Skåne is a region. All who live there are Skånska)
There has long been lacking a solid knowledge of forced marriages in Sweden. Those of us who warned of honor repression have been questioned. As for the Socialist government investigators Masoud Kamali accused us of fomenting racism.
But cultural relativists can no longer deny that this oppression affects thousands of young people. A number of institutions on behalf of the Government reported on the prevalence of violence and oppression. According to the Youth Board, there are at least 70 000 young parents who feel that religion and culture set limits on who they can marry.
In at least two surveys (the National Board in 2007 and Stockholm University in 2009) reveals that among the young people living with limitations related to marriage are those who are vulnerable to psychological and physical violence by parents or other relatives. A review of county court judgments, which were seized as young as a result of, for example, domestic violence, shows that one third of all convictions in 2007 were girls were honor. Most had been victims of violence by relatives, sometimes for years. Half had been threatened with death. Almost all had took it upon themselves to take the initiative to seek help.
The picture is alarming. Today the government decides on a strategy for continued work to prevent young people are married against their will. The focus is on strengthening preventative work, support and protection, improved collaboration between agencies and increased knowledge.
• Protection against forced marriages and child marriages are tightened.
Investigator of Justice Goran Lambertz Council, has been asked to suggest how including forced marriages and child marriages may be criminalized.
• Rehabilitation of the victims of honor crimes. Children who are disposed to honor crimes because of repression may have been victims of violence for a long time. They could be threatened by the family and relatives during the time they are placed in special housing. The government will decide whether to develop a guide for support and rehabilitation of children and young people who are victims of honor related violence or oppression.
• Support for the girls who are looking for “mödomshinnerekonstruktion.” There are girls who feel intense pressure to prove they have not had sexual intercourse before the wedding night. Therefore, looking for some help in clinical care. My starting point is that these girls need help and support but it is not the way to offer health care operations. In order to assure the quality of the hospitality of these girls is the National Centre for women’s safety given the task of developing a manual for health care.
• National awareness campaign. Children and young people should have knowledge of their rights and ways in which authorities and voluntary organizations work to strengthen their rights. The government will decide on a national campaign to inform young people in secondary schools to prevent and avoid any exposure to, inter alia, violence and oppression.
• Regulatory Network for the Coordination of efforts and information. Youth Board awarded the contract to be the convener of a network of government agencies in efforts to prevent and stop the young are married against their will.
• Advice for young people at risk on the government website. Some young people at risk of getting married against their will abroad. On the government website is now afford to travel to those who are afraid of being married against their will abroad and legible information on laws relating to marriage.
The honor-related violence and oppression is about the needs to control girls’ sexuality. But human rights are based on individuals, not groups. Each person has the right to decide their future and marriage. Children have a right to be children. The freedom must never be limited by reference to the culture, ethnicity or religion.
Nyamko Sabuni (FP)
Integration and Gender Equality Minister