Domestic Violence in Transnational Diasporic Consanguineous Marriages: Narratives of Marriage-Related Abuse Among British Azad Kashmiri Women of Pakistani Origin.

Monday, 16 July 2018: 10:30
Oral Presentation
Zahira LATIF, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom
British Azad Kashmiri women of Pakistani origin experiencing violence and abuse in consanguineous marriages are adversely affected by a patriarchy that has a greater impact on women from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Living in Western pluralistic societies, adds further complexity to the experiences of marriage-related abuse among Azad Kashmiri women. Ethnic communities place an emphasis on cultural retention, envisioning women as boundary markers between ethnic and host cultures. Responding to host society hostilities, minority communities can become inwardly focused, heightening patriarchal practices, which have deleterious implications for women. However, there is little empirical research exploring the interplay between patriarchal ideology and abusive consanguineous marriages in host societies. This paper presents findings based on eleven months of focused ethnographic research conducted with five older first-generation British Azad Kashmiri women who stayed in abusive consanguineous marriages and ten semi-structured interviews with younger, second-generation, and recently arrived spousal migrants who left their marriages. The findings indicate that transnational families expect abused Azad Kashmiri wives to make consanguineous marriages work. Families perceive these marriages as symbols of their honour and expect women to strengthen existing kinship ties. This is line with migrant network theory, which posits that migration from the subcontinent is primarily motivated by migrant aspirations to improve their familial honour. In the light of such expectations, and with few viable alternatives, women are co-opted into processes to advance transnational family honour and, thereby, personal honour. Women who stay adopt strategies to advance family honour. Those who leave attempt to reclaim lost honour. The former seek influence and bargaining power in family spaces and with abusers, while the latter are driven by attempts to regain diminished influence and prevent further stigmatisation. However, advancing ideology provides women with few opportunities to ameliorate their positions among abusers, families and communities, leaving women vulnerable and unprotected.