LIFE BETWEEN TWO CULTURES
Who am I? Where do I belong? At individual and group meetings we can discuss about these and other questions that occupy the mind.
It is richness if you can live in two cultures and see different sides of issues. Perhaps sometimes you find it challenging to live up to different expectations, which come from the family and your environment.
Your family most likely wants to raise you in the best possible way. They want to participate in your upbringing and ensure a good future for you. Parents make decisions based on what they think is best for you. They might want to raise you the way they were brought up. No stable parent wants to hurt or damage his or her child.
You might still feel that your parents do not understand you nor have your best in mind. This is a result of a generation gap and also that your parents grew up in a different environment, different society and a different culture.
If both of your parents are from the same cultural background, they might have a similar understanding of how you need to think and behave. If your parents come from different cultural backgrounds they might have very contrasting expectations of you.
Thinking of own roots, background and identity, as well as, challenging parents’ ideas and methods, is part of becoming an adult and all people go through this. We will gladly talk about this with you!
WHAT IF I HAVE OFFENDED MY FAMILY’S HONOUR?
Have you secretly had a relationship? Gone to places, which you have been forbidden to visit? Dressed in a way that does not follow your family’s wishes? Are you gossiped about? Are you attracted to individuals of same gender?
You might feel that you have offended your family’s honour. Your parents might be disappointed in you. You might find it challenging to share your thoughts and ideas with your parents, since your thoughts differ from what they think. You might be afraid that your parents will punish you. Talk about these things with a trustworthy adult, since it is not good to carry such secrets alone.
We will gladly help you resolve the situation!
Get in touch with us!
I AM FEARING FAMILY’S NEXT TRIP
If your parents have decided to send or take you to your country of origin, you can act in following ways. If you are afraid to refuse the trip, contact the school curator, nurse or teacher. You can also contact your regional child protection office and social worker or call SOPU-project. If the trip is coming up shortly, you can also call the police.
Remember that you have the right to refuse going on the trip if you are suspicious of a forced marriage. If you are concerned for your safety, contact Sopu-project or the police in severe matters.
If you still end up going despite your will, take along with:
you a copy of your passport,
a telephone number of your friend or SOPU-project
a number of Finnish Embassy in your parents’ home country
Try to keep your cell phone to yourself. Agree with someone that they will contact an official, if you have not returned to Finland as agreed.
Your parents have grown up in a different environment than you. Their thoughts can be very different from yours. It is a normal part of puberty and maturing that parents and youth have differing thoughts. Your parents might be worried that you are becoming too “Finnish”. They might want to raise you according to their values.
Many parents worry that the behaviour of their youth might cause the loss of their and communities honour and reputation. Honour means different things, which either need to be done or cannot be done. Honour might mean a girl is untouched, meaning a girl who has not been in a relationship before marriage. Honour might also mean decent and honourable behaviour and dressing.
The parents might think that the girl’s and the family’s reputation is lost, if the girl hangs out with a group of friends at a shopping mall. In some families it is a disgrace if the girl smokes or wears clothes that are too revealing or tight. Sometimes some parents assume that other families and members of their community follow and gossip about their youth and children. Even if your parents would like to let you wear or behave how you wish, they might be afraid of how their community might react. Sometimes families see forced marriage or going back home as the only way to rescue their family’s reputation. This shows that the parents do not have enough means to raise their youth in Finland.
If you suspect that you have offended your families or communities honour, get in touch with SOPU-project. Together we can figure out what is the issue and what can we do so that the relationship with your family does not worsen and that you are not in danger.
If you are thinking about these things and would like to talk about this more, you are welcome to join the group activities.
Kaisa: Help! My friend is sent home to get married! How can I help her?
My name is Kaisa. I’ve been in a relationship with an immigrant boy for some time now. His family doesn’t know about this. Now his family has decided that he needs to go to their home country to get married. Married to some girl he doesn’t even know or love. It’s supposedly his dad’s relative’s daughter. This is crazy! What do I do?
HONOUR RELATED VIOLENCE
Sometimes the motive for violence can be to maintain family’s honour. This is when we talk about honour related violence. In some collective cultures women and men have pre-set gender roles and the community ensures that its members act according to the roles. If someone breaks communal rules that person needs to be punished, to return communities reputation and honour. For example, the community might experience that the offenders behaviour, substance use, a relationship despite family’s will or divorce might dishonour the whole community. In this case it is expected, accepted and even pre-arranged that the community punishes the offender. The one who punishes is generally from the same family.
Honour related violence is always wrong and it does not return communities honour. There are alternatives to violence. Conversation between different parties increases understanding of another’s situation. This is something we can help you and your family with.
If you have experienced honour related violence or threats, contact the police or Sopu-project.
Get in contact!