Posted by Vi Hughes on Mar 07, 2019

Transcribed from notes taken by Audrey Martyn

On Tuesday we heard from Meena Deccan, a practising lawyer in Alberta and a member of RC Edmonton West. Meena has been interested in the socio-economic constructions of honour for many years.

In some ethnic communities in Canada, persons at risk are dealing with honour issues. In 2007 there was a death in Ontario that was an honour killing. In 2009 Sharia Law was introduced in Ontario, but it was ultimately rejected, as it would have replaced Canadian law in the Muslim community.

Authorities dealing with domestic violence in these communities do not have a full grasp of the issues at hand. The present toolkit involves looking for alcohol, substance abuse, police calls, hospital visits, and displaced aggression or impulsivity. These indicators are not present in these cases.

Domestic violence in ethnic communities does mark an alternative community in Canada. The construction of honour rather than ‘code’ implies a system of rules and regulations honouring a dynamic of societal differences in ideology.

Dishonourable anti social behaviour against society takes place in Muslim, Hindu and Sikh communities in Canada. Gender based violence is community based. The crimes are most often committed by a cousin, uncle, or neighbour. Related female victims outnumber unrelated ones. 43% of murder victims are males, thus denying males access into the group. For example, Saudi women would not marry an outsider, but a Saudi male could take an outsider as a wife.

Religion based violence is seen in Islam, Sikkism, Hinduism and Catholicism. Divorce laws in Catholic countries have only changed in the twentieth century. Intermarriage only works when the family agrees to help each other. As long as everyone buys into the plan things work, but when one person disagrees or refuses the marriage, then the system breaks down and violence occurs. Dissension from the family plan causes violence.