Conference: In the Name of Honour

In June 2012, the Indo Canadian Women’s Association organized a conference called, “In the name of honour: Cultural practices that hurt women”. The vision of this conference came from a two year community based project entitled, “Elimination of Harmful Cultural Practices”.

The objective of the conference was to not only reduce violence against women and girls but also to empower immigrant girls and women in the Edmonton area through peer mentoring and leadership skill building.

Our objective was the result of the fact that far too often, in South Asian communities, women and girls are seen to be the vessels of honour in the family. They are often restricted and controlled or seen as weak and helpless. We want to mobilize, within our own communities, zero tolerance attitudes towards honour-based violence, make a case for stricter enforcement of criminal law, and empower girls and women who vulnerable to honour based violence.

Our intention was to bring all types of service providers to the table to have a dialogue about taking initiative to prevent violence. This was done through this conference where almost 200 people attended including various social workers, teachers, health care professionals, legal and justice sector professionals, and academic and faith leaders.  

The conference speakers and panelists are known for their activism in addressing honour based violence and have successfully built community support and services.

Our discoveries showed a general lack of understanding among the public about harmful cultural practices and honour based violence. Our delegates also suggested that the media sensationalized, normalized, and simplified violence against women from immigrant communities.

As a result, we discussed initiatives to prevent honour based violence such issuing a national help line, more funding for settlement services, increased training for professionals, community access to service providers, and working with the perpetrators and victims.

For more detail on the conference, click here for the report.