Honour-related violence and oppression has become a social problem. But the phenomenon is far more multifaceted and dynamic than typically portrayed in media. These are some of the findings presented by Siv-Britt Björktomta in her doctoral thesis, which is based on interviews with eleven 16-20 year old females who live in families characterised by strong patriarchal control. The interviewees expressed that they live with restrictions and control of their social life and sexuality.
‘My study explores the phenomenon from the perspective of the daughters,’ says Björktomta.The thesis focuses on the girls’ strategies to handle conflicts between norms in the family and in the surrounding majority society. They were not allowed to have a boyfriend and had to accept a strict virginity requirement, which restricted their space for action in many ways. Their stories show how the idea that a daughter’s virginity is the symbol of the family’s reputation and honour meant that they had to shoulder the burden of being cultural symbols and boundary markers – with moral implications – between the ‘Swedish’ and the ‘non-Swedish’.
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