New research from Preston university has found violence against the LGBT community is still supported around the world.Advertisement
The international study was published by the Honour Abuse Research Matrix (HARM) at UCLan. It analysed attitudes to violence against the LGBT community in India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Iran and England.
In the study, 922 participants aged 16 to 61 read a report depicting a man whose relatives verbally abuse him and threaten him with violence, after becoming suspicious that he is gay. They then answered questions about the extent to which they thought the man’s actions had damaged his family’s honour, and their approval of the anti-gay honour abuse in the scenario.
The study found that a person’s gender, age, educational status, and religious denomination shaped their approval of such violence.
Men were more likely to be accepting of anti-gay violence, as were those educated to high school qualification level. Participants who identified as Muslim were more likely to endorse anti-gay violence than those who identified as another or no religion.
It was also found that men are more likely to approve of anti-gay violence in countries where an honour culture exists (that is where people feel obliged to defend their reputation and are willing to use force to do so). Respondents from Pakistan were most supportive of this type of abuse, which coincides with the high rate of honour killings in the country.
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Dr Roxanne Khan, Director of the HARM Network, worked on the study with researchers from the University of Bolton, Monash University, University of Kent and the Aga Khan University.
She said: “Our results found that older, religious, less educated, and married individuals would endorse anti-gay honour abuse more than younger, non-religious, more educated, and unmarried people.
“We also found that participants from all four Asian nations and British Asians would be more endorsing of the damage to honour and more accepting of anti-gay honour abuse than British White participants.”
Dr Michelle Lowe, Reader in Criminological and Forensic Psychology at the University of Bolton, is one of the researchers who wrote the report.
She said: “Research in this important area needs to continue to appreciate the full scope of the problem. It is pleasing that in some nations, endorsement of anti-gay attitudes and violence is low.
“However, in other nations, anti-gay attitudes are prevalent, which creates a culture where victims of anti-gay honour abuse struggle to receive the help that they desperately need.”
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The research was shared at the HARM annual conference, hosted by UCLan, which brings together individuals and organisations working to combat so-called honour crimes such as homophobic attacks, forced marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM).
Matt Mahmood-Ogston from the Matt and Naz Foundation, which aims to tackle homophobia by supporting parents to accept their children, is an Ambassador for HARM and attended the conference.
He said: “The HARM research is vital for breaking the down the walls of silence that exist within conservative families who refuse to accept their gay son or daughter.
“It is critical that homophobic abuse, triggered by religious or cultural belief, is tackled using the same psychological thinking that is used to tackle honour abuse.
“The HARM network, and its members, play a vital part in tackling LGBTQI+ honour abuse. Male victims of honour abuse, particularly those who are LGBTQI+, are often overlooked or don’t come forward to report their abuse for fear of it not being taken seriously.”