Article presented on the international conference ‘Towards a vision for the Indo Caribbean diasporic culture’.
Trinidad & Tobago, July 11th. – 13th, 2014
Organisation: National Council of Indian Culture
Title: Honor and domestic violence among Surinamese Hindustani in the Netherlands
Authors: Dr. Anita C. Nanhoe, Prof. dr. Trees Pels, dr. Katinka Lünnemann
Institutional affiliation: Municipality of Rotterdam (Nanhoe); VU University Amsterdam (Pels), Verwey Jonker Instituut (Lünnemann)
The high number of reports of domestic violence among Hindustani are the reason for this study with the question: ‘Do mechanisms of honor and forced marriage have a relation with partner violence among Hindustani? And is there an intergenerational transmission?’ This study has three research methods: study of literature, interviews with key informants, interviews with 15 mothers who were victims of domestic violence and 17 youngsters who witnessed violence between their parents.
The research shows that the selection of marriage candidates is generally directed to a relationship in which the male has more power than the woman. Because of the gender related upbringing, the expectations in the male-female relationship, the expected honor damage and other negative consequences of a divorce, women feel trapped in their marriage in situations of partner violence. Separation appears the most effective measure to stop domestic violence , but also gives the most honor damage. The greatest damage occurs for the woman and her family of origin, which therefore is best served by the preservation of marriage.
The marginalization of divorced women brings with it an aggravation of their role as parent and has negative consequences for children. Children grow up with the example of their parents. They copy the taboo on divorces, but also the believe that there are situations that justify partner violence. Young people from broken families also experience pressure to achieve successes in order to repair the damaged honor of their mother. Paradoxically at the same time they have to process trauma’s related to the time that the family was still intact.
The conference-organization is engaged in publishing the article.