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Speaking about sexual abuse in British South Asian communities: offenders, victims and the challenges of shame and reintegration

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Abstract

Cultural dynamics have a significant impact on how sexual matters, including sexual abuse, are discussed in British South Asian communities. The ways in which these communities talk about sexual violence often reinforce patriarchal norms and values, especially those concerned with honour and shame. As a result, victims are either silenced or the blame for the sexual violence they have suffered is laid at their own feet. Addressing the fact that these problems are rooted in patriarchal norms and values is key to understanding how to tackle sexual offending effectively in such communities. Both retributive and restorative justice are necessary in responding to sex crimes; retributive approaches help to recognise victims’ suffering, while restorative approaches offer promising avenues for encouraging victims and offenders alike to speak about their experiences. Both approaches are essential components to reintegrating victims and offenders into their communities.

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... In honour-based societies, the husband is defined as the head of the family and defender of its honour. As such, men are expected to protect their family, particularly its female members, against any behaviour that the community might consider dishonourable or humiliating (Cowburn et al. 2014). If this does occur, honour is replaced by shame (sharam in Urdu, for more on the concepts of honour and shame, see Welchman andHossain 2005, Husseini 2009). ...
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... In honour-based societies, the husband is defined as the head of the family and the defender of its honour. As such, men are expected to protect their family, particularly its female members, against any behaviour the community might view as dishonourable or humiliating (Cowburn, Gill and Harrison, 2014). If something dishonourable or humiliating occurs, honour is replaced by shame (sharam in Urdu). ...
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The Wiley-Blackwell handbook of legal and ethical aspects of sex offender treatment and management
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