GPs drop Asian victims of ‘honour abuse’ over fear of racism

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GPs are not subject to ‘honor abuse’ within the Asian community for fear of being seen as racist, according to a study by a leading think tank.

The Center for Social Justice (CSJ) said the use of the term ‘honour abuse’ has legitimized domestic violence within families, with victims feeling they could not report it due to the stigma of abuse. be branded as traitors to their communities.

Health practitioners such as GPs – to whom most victims were likely to report their abuse – found it difficult to intervene for fear of being accused of racism, prejudice and prejudice if they investigated, said the CSJ.

The think tank, founded by Sir Iain Duncan Smith, has urged the government to drop the term ‘honour abuse’ – of which just 2,725 incidents were reported to police last year – and treat it as domestic violence in all official documents and offense records. .

“Abuse is Abuse”

In a foreword to the report, Baroness Verma, Boris Johnson’s ministerial champion for combating violence against women and girls abroad, said: “Getting rid of the term does not erase the domestic violence. He will, however, recognize that abuse is abuse.

“There can be no sensitivity around calling it exactly what it is, no matter who perpetrated it or why. Honor? Where’s the honor in forcing a pregnant woman to have an abortion because the scan of 20 weeks reveals she is a girl?

“Where is the honor in forcing a gay son to marry a girl to conceal his sexual orientation? Where’s the honor in treating a daughter-in-law like free labor with no rights?

“The term honor runs the risk of legitimizing this behavior. He risks giving the aggressor a way out – he adheres to a code of honour. Moreover, as one survivor explained, the distinction created by this term places victims in a “special” category.

“But victims don’t want to feel ‘special’, they just want to feel safe. And they deserve it.

The CSJ said the legitimization of “abuse of honor” within communities and racial sensitivities by authorities meant that “horrible practices” such as female feticide, forced marriage and abortion, rape, 24/7 surveillance and prohibition of higher education were not reported.

However, many victims have been let down by practitioners, including health workers, for fear of racism if they investigate ‘honour’ abuse.

“He wanted me out of there”

A survivor who went to see her GP twice for her symptoms of depression told the CSJ: “I could see that the GP didn’t want to go. He wasn’t Asian, he didn’t know my background.

“He wanted me to get out of there as soon as possible. He just wrote a prescription and didn’t ask me about my home life.

Victims were further discouraged by the low prosecution rate with only 47,534 domestic violence cases resulting in a conviction, a fraction of the 758,491 offenses recorded by police. It is estimated that eight in 10 victims did not report domestic violence, the CSJ said.

Data on abuse is patchy because abuse is difficult to identify and prove within closed communities or remains hidden. But the charity Karma Nirvana reported an 81% increase in cases related to “honour abuse” in 2020, receiving 12,128 calls that year.

The CSJ said poor detection and enforcement left perpetrators able to continue with impunity, with around one in four claiming another six victims.

The CSJ has seen similar problems in other faith communities. Yehudis Fletcher, co-founder of the Nahamu think tank to address domestic violence in the Jewish community, reported “nervousness around anti-Semitism among police and health workers” unfamiliar with Jewish practices.

Janie Codona of the One Voice 4 Travelers charity told CSJ she fears “stigma that paints all travelers as dirty wanderers who cause trouble wherever they go”.

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