What is abuse?
Culture is a large part of one’s life. But culture can be used to control others’ behaviour, actions and choices. Cultural abuse occurs when culture is used as a mechanism of controlling others. Culture should not dictate one’s ability to express their own self and enjoy their rights as human beings. Community violence is the expression of cultural abuse outside of the home and in the wider community.
Actions that can be considered cultural abuse include:
- not allowed to practice faith or religion
- forcing people to practice faith or traditions
- not allowed to observe traditional/spiritual practices and rituals
- being forced to adopt certain practices and rituals against the will
- pushing one to conform to certain expectations like how to dress, how to talk, how to behave in society as an individual
- character assassination
- conforming to prescribed gender norms
- shunning, pushing person out community by force for going against the norm.
- female genital mutilation
- forced marriages
- the expectation that marriage is the highest achievement for a women, where she must only cater to her husband’s needs to be accepted by the community
Culture is a choice, and one has the freedom to either adopt or reject customs.