Reputation is important to pretty much everyone. You may deny this but we all know deep down that this is true, reputation is everything, especially, as I have found in the Asian community. For example, all the girls in my school look out for their friends to make sure that nothing they do could possibly be perceived as “slutty”. This is because if your friend is considered “slutty” then so are you by association. So your friends always have your back to make sure that the group’s reputation stays intact.
Last night on Channel 4 news, there was a segment on sexting. Obviously this is not an issue in my school and I have only been aware of this happening once, and when it did happen the girl was publicly shamed.
Also, the family’s reputation is vital. If you do something that could be considered to taint it, your punishment will be severe. For instance, a girl in the year above me was taken out of school last month to be sent to Bangladesh for four years as a punishment. Everyone assumed that she had been caught drinking, which is forbidden in Islam and would bring shame to her family. However, she has now been married in Bangladesh as she was sent there because of her pregnancy. Had she had the baby outside marriage there would have been mixed reactions. Many would have shunned her, where as others would have helped her. But all would know the shame she would bring to her family who couldn’t keep this girl under control or didn’t raise her properly. But now as she is married then it’s like a whitewash over whatever may have happened in London.
It’s thought that on average in my school at least one girl in year 10 or 11 will go to Bangladesh and be married off.
Why do I mention this? Because last week one of my closer friends was taken to Bangladesh with her family as a punishment for having a boyfriend and Facebook, both of which she had not been allowed. She was caught with her boyfriend and when she refused to hand over her PIN to enter her phone her uncle smashed it. When her family went through her Facebook account, after they found it, they saw “dirty” messages that were sent via her account to other people when she was hacked, she did not send these messages. Because of all this her family has taken her to Bangladesh. The two other girls who know why she has gone to Bangladesh are worried that she may be married off as her “problems” are boy centred and marriage may be considered as a solution. As we can’t get hold of her as she is now without a phone/Facebook we just have to hope that she will be the same when she returns next month, and that she will return.
Girls are often sent away because of the fear of having a bad reputation. When I was talking to my mother about writing this post, she asked me if I had heard anything on honour killings. No. I haven’t, they aren’t common, when these things happen it is shocking among everyone. Yes, reputation is important to families but killings are not considered the way of redeeming a bad reputation.