Violence perpetrated in the name of ‘honour’ is neither a new phenomenon, nor one associated exclusively with any particular culture or religion. Nevertheless the concept of honour has become a powerful expression through which certain ‘culturalised’ forms of violence have been differentiated from ‘mainstream’ forms of violence against women. Indeed, while the latter is viewed generally as a pattern of individual deviance and desire for power and control, HBV is perceived as symptomatic of deviant and problematic cultures and cultural pathology. Subsequently although there has been increasing academic attention paid to the problem of ‘honour’-based violence within the UK, much of this existing research has focused on urban areas with large South Asian Muslim populations. Problematically, Larasi (2013b) argues, this limited focus can create silos that do not necessarily represent ‘victims’’ real lived experiences of violence and abuse.
This thesis is based upon data collected from semi-structured interviews conducted with twenty-six participants – twelve service users and fourteen service providers – from various ‘rural’ locations spanning across five English counties. By re-examining the notion of ‘honour’, this thesis considers the extent to which the culturalisation of HBV has hindered contemporary Western understanding of VAW and our ability to provide services to those seeking help. Although, by drawing upon the lived experiences of service users, it is shown how honour and shame operate as more pervasive features of all intimate personal victimisation, this thesis demonstrates how culturalised perceptions of honour and HBV restricts service provisions – particularly in rural areas which are conceptualised as lacking in ethnic diversity. Ultimately this thesis argues that, given that honour underlies so many forms of gender-based violence, rather than resituating HBV within a broader framework of VAW, we should instead situate VAW within a broader theoretical understanding of honour and shame.