Diversityand Intersectionality Assignment: The Latino Population
TheLatino population is known for traditional roles in their familiessuch as the men at work, and the women take care of the home. Thisminority group might not have all the resources assessable to know orto ask for help as a domestic violence victim. The paper will focuson the Latina women who face domestic violence and how to understandwhy they might not come and seek help. This is to explore what thebest practices are for the Latino population of domestic violencevictims.
Backgroundof the Latino People
The typical Latino familyis very traditional in the sense of family roles. The man isconstructed as machismo, which means to be strong and show amasculinity ego. The women are considered to be marianismo, which isto be pure and understanding. These roles are what is understood andexpected in some households. This is a somewhat tradition that hasbeen passed down. The religious views of Latino families are mainlyCatholic. Their faith resonates with their beliefs of not believingin divorce, as this can often be criticized. Some members of thechurch might pass judgment on the women if she is divorced from herspouse. Some of the community might recognize domestic violence, butdo not see it that way. They may think of it as a maritalincompatibility.
Statisticsof Intimate Partner Violence
Reliablestatistics estimate that 1 in 3 Latinas has suffered intimate partnerviolence (National Latina Network, 2016). It is also estimated that63% of these women have experienced multiple counts of victimizationat the hands of their spouses (National Latina Network, 2016). Someof the acts of victimization include physical assaults, weaponassaults, sexual assault, threats, and stalking. Some atrocities havealso been committed to teenage Latinas. Unfortunately, some Latinashave experienced IPV during their pregnancies. Such IPV includes bothphysical and emotional abuse. In the previous year alone, over 8% ofHispanic women have experienced intimate partner violence (IPV)(NationalLatina Network, 2016). Socioeconomic factors play a critical role inthe prevalence of IPV. Mexican immigrants had fewer reported cases ofIPV as compared to Hispanics born in the US.
Granted,immigrant groups display resilience that belies their social andeconomic challenges. This phenomenon has been labeled as theimmigrant paradox. Glaring differences exist among Latina groupsbased on their level of acculturation and the country of origin. Forexample, persons of Mexican origin born in America experience higherrates of IPV compared to immigrants. The longer an individual becameacclimatized to American culture, the grimmer the health outcomes(National Latina Network, 2016). Having an immigrant status seemed tooffer a cushion against IPV. Nevertheless, the facts show thatnon-immigrant Latinas sought for IPV resources more often compared toimmigrants.
Work-relatedIPV is also prevalent among members of the Latina community. Somehusbands deployed work disruption tactics so as to frustrate theirwives. Job surveillance and harassment is also common among Latinas.This is manifested when the husband endeavors to micromanage the wifeby dictating her decisions while at the same time critiquing herchoices. Some Latina spouses resorted to withholding the driver`slicense from the woman. This action is intended to restrict hermovements and confine her to the kitchen. Other men have abdicatedtheir responsibilities by abandoning their families to fend forthemselves (Lockhart& Danis, 2010). Besides, the men utter blatant lies aboutchildcare arrangements so as to limit their obligations. In someinstances, Hispanic women are temporarily sent to their country oforigin as a punitive measure. Conniving Hispanic men haveconveniently used the threat of deportation to exact fullsubservience from their wives and other partners.
IPVoccurs during daily life in various forms. All families arecharacterized by unique relationships between different members.Also, most families are plagued with personal and systemic factorsthat could have an impact on IPV. Firstly, Latinas are guided bystrong cultural values. The family arrangement occupies a unique partof a Latina’s life. The onset of economic challenges has warpedfamily roles in that some mothers have become primary breadwinners(National Latina Network, 2016). In this instance, it is important toconsider the implications for the family.
Thelonger the period spent by a Latina in the US, the higher the changesseen in gender role expectations. Nevertheless, many Latinas citetheir unique role as mothers as the most important work.Consequently, they care more about the safety and well-being of theirchildren as opposed to their personal prosperity. Women were morelikely to report cases of IPV when the security of their children wasjeopardized (Lockhart & Danis, 2010). The desire to protect theirchildren superseded the dread of a violent backlash from the husband.
Latinasare also influenced by religion when determining whether to reportIPV. Religion also dictates how IPV is reported. For example, someLatinas may refrain from coming forward due to entrenched belief inthe sanctity of marriage. Therefore, they reason that reporting theirspouses for violence could lead to separation or divorce. Religiousleaders in the Latina community manifest negative reactions todisclosures of intimate partner violence (Lockhart & Danis,2010). Consequently, Latina women may decide to endure the hardshipsand violence to avoid breaking up their sacred unions.
InSan Diego, ethnic conflicts between Mexican and Somali communitieswere succeeded by increasing the reported cases of IPV within theLatina community. This highlights the fact that societal factors mayenhance IPV among Latinas. Economicfactors have also contributed to Latinas deciding against reportingcases of domestic abuse. Coincidentally, the decision to avoid comingforward may also be motivated by children (Sweet, 2015). Extractingthe sole breadwinner from the family may expose the children to worseevils due to neediness. Some Latinas may also refrain from addressingcases of IPV due to the fear of revealing their alien status. Thepotent threat of deportation engenders silence even amidst intensesuffering. Some environments have enacted strict anti-immigrationlaws and guidelines. Therefore, the Latinas in these areas experiencefrequent episodes of stalking, discrimination, and verbal abuse.
TheLatina family roles can contribute to survivors of domestic violencefailing to come forward. They might not want to "disturb"the structures of the traditional Latino family. Some of what reasonswe know that indigenous Latina women will not ask for help is becauseof family roles, language barriers, and their children. These rolescan contribute to survivors of domestic violence to come forward.They might not want to "disturb" the structures of thetraditional Latino family. This can cause extra stress and resistanceof a survivor to come for help (Band-Winterstein& Eisikovits, 2014).
Thelanguage barrier makes it tough for a woman to come forward and askfor help when she is not comfortable with English as a secondlanguage. Latina women may conclude that her situation will not beexplained as well in her non-native language (Reina& Lohman, 2015). For example, 1 in 3 shelters lacks anySpanish-speaking personnel. Besides, less than half of the availableshelters provide child-related services (National Latina Network,2016). Therefore, the women survivors will take their children intoaccount for asking for help. The man might try and threaten the womenwith her children. The abuser can claim custody over the children dueto his employment status. He may also use his superior knowledge ofEnglish to undermine the woman. Lacking an immigration status couldmake the woman reconsider asking for help due to the risk ofdeportation.
Perhapsthe greatest barrier to Latinas seeking help for IPV lies in the factthat less than 30% of Latinas are aware of IPV options and services(National Latina Network, 2016). The vast majority of Hispanics andother Latina groups have zero knowledge about the procedure to followwhen IPV occurs. Latinas also lack information about local agenciesand orders protecting against domestic violence. Recent statisticsestimate that 14% of Latina immigrants failed to access IPV servicesand options due to immigration difficulties (National Latina Network,2016). A broad region in the US has embraced immigration enforcementlaws and policies.
Asmentioned, spouses always use the threat of immigration as a controlmechanism to spread fear and foster silence. Cases and laws governingdeportation have heightened in recent years. Some of the Latina womenthat report cases of IPV are usually turned away due to lack ofproper identification (Reina & Lohman, 2015). It is alsodifficult for people unfamiliar with Latina culture to provide helpconcerning domestic violence. Issues that could be weighty andsubstantive to Latinas may appear trivial to Americans working inrescue shelters. Consequently, some issues may remain unresolveddespite being reported.
Latinasurvivors use different strategies so as to survive abuse andcontinue to raise their precious children. Avoiding potentiallyvolatile situations is one fundamental strategy. Walking away fromthe batterer is an effective way to cool the tensions and anger(Davies & Lyon, 2014). In some situations, calming the battererthrough gracious speech may generate a positive response. Attemptingto revile in return only serves to heighten the emotions. Retaliatingphysically is also unwise due to the vastly superior physicality ofmales. Furthermore, making curt remarks may be interpreted as achallenge to male authority and dominance (Barnett,Miller-Perrin, & Perrin, 2011). In realization of this, Latinasurvivors humble themselves before their husbands.
Inthe instance where violence does occur, the foremost instinct is toavoid suffering debilitating consequences. In this regard, defendingoneself from adverse bodily harm is a prudent course of action. Itmay be necessary to lock oneself in a room so as to keep away fromphysical attacks. The children also need to be trained on how to seekhelp from neighbors and the police. Inevitably, cases of domesticviolence have a detrimental effect on the children trapped in thehousehold. Some children grow up with resentment to their abusiveparent. Others may develop negative views of marriage and family life(Wherry,Medford, & Corson, 2015).
Supportgroups help victims of domestic violence derive comfort, strength,and encouragement from one another. Sharing past experiences ofdomestic abuse helps the participants to lessen the emotional burdenthey bear. Furthermore, survivors can learn of other methods thatcould prove successful in the battle to overcome domestic violence.Support groups can also serve as conduits through which survivorsseek solace under rescue shelters and organizations (Sweet, 2015).Latina women seek psychological support from close family friends andrelatives. In extreme cases, they save enough money and move toundisclosed locations.
Thestrategies and services needed to help Latina women should considertheir most pertinent needs before proposing solutions. Latinasurvivors need to be educated about their rights as survivors ofdomestic abuse. They also need legal services to safeguard and fightfor their constitutional rights. In this regard, the Violence AgainstWomen Act (VAWA) was enacted in 1994 to offer protection to victimsof sexual assault and domestic violence. The law has since beenrevised in 2000 and 2005 so as to improve the effectiveness ofstructures set up to protect women and children (National LatinaNetwork, 2016). As discussed, immigrants and other non-citizenssuffer the vilest cases of domestic abuse. The instigators of IPVexploit the women`s lack of immigration status. Abusers are awarethat their victims would fear to report the abuse to law enforcementsince they risked deportation. Therefore, VAWA includes specialprovisions aimed at protecting immigrant survivors and their children(National Latina Network, 2016). The law also provides a legal basisfor investigation and prosecution of crimes. In particular, the USCongress aims to ensure not only safety for all victims but alsoaccountability for all perpetrators.
Otherstrategies could include enacting further laws that keep domesticviolence and deportation separate. Setting up support groups close toLatina communities also helps to provide needed help whenever it isrequired. Support groups must be readily available to the survivorsof domestic violence. Creating a community-like atmosphere at shelterclinics helps the victims to heal from the physical and emotionalwounds caused by domestic abuse. Latina survivors have a desire forEnglish lessons and literacy classes. In this regard, shelter clinicsneed to have at least one Spanish-seeking staff member. Shelters mayalso have more impact by offering educative programs to all that seekrefuge (Merchant & Whiting, 2015). It would suffice to have ahotline where victims can call in to report emergent cases ofintimate partner violence. Some of the domestic violence agenciesneed to have some background information on Latina families. In thismanner, the issues presented by Latina survivors can be addressedwith the utmost care and professionalism. Some women need a person inwhom to confide and share personal struggles. They can developawareness and acquire assistance at shelters without being reportedto the community as seeking help for domestic violence. There canalso be fewer restrictions to homeless shelters so that children canbe allowed to access education facilities (Merchant & Whiting,2015). The women are most likely to be stay-at-home mothers and nothave much money to leave. As discussed, some husbands try to controltheir wives since they are the sole breadwinners. Therefore, Latinasurvivors need to be empowered to support themselves and also lessentheir reliance on abusive mates.
Domestic violence is a seriousconcern in modern times. However, reporting and handling such casesdiffers from one community to another. Underserved communities suchas Latinas highlight the difficulties faced by immigrants when tryingto obtain help for domestic violence. The abusers customarily exploitthe lack of immigration status so as to intimidate the victims intosilence. The victims may also fear coming forward due to theirfinancial dependability on the sole breadwinner. Religious reasonsmay also motivate Latina women to avoid reporting cases of domesticabuse. This is because they resent the idea of causing separation ordivorce in their marriage. Nevertheless, legal provisions provided byVAWA can help victims to report cases and seek protection for theirchildren. Setting up shelter homes and support groups alsocontributes to alleviating the effects of domestic violence.
Band-Winterstein,T. & Eisikovits, Z. (2014). Intimateviolence across the lifespan: Interpersonal, familial, andcross-generational perspectives.New York, NY: Springer.
Barnett, O.W., Miller-Perrin, C. L., & Perrin, R. D. (2011). Familyviolence across the lifespan: An introduction.Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE.
Davies, J.& Lyon, E. (2014). Domesticviolence advocacy: Complex lives/difficult choices.Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE.
Lockhart,L. L. & Danis, F. S. (2010). Domesticviolence: Intersectionality and culturally competent practice.New York, NY: Columbia University Press.
Merchant,L. V. & Whiting, J. B. (2015, May). “Challenges and Retentionof Domestic Violence Shelter Advocates: a Grounded Theory.” Journalof Family Violence, 30(4),467-478.
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Reina, A.S. & Lohman, B. J. (2015, May). “Barriers Preventing LatinaImmigrants from Seeking Advocacy Services for Domestic ViolenceVictims: A Qualitative Analysis.” Journalof Family Violence, 30(4),479-488.
Sweet, P.L. (2015, September). “Chronic Victims, Risky Women: DomesticViolence Advocacy and the Medicalization of Abuse.” Signs:Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 41(1),81-106.
Wherry, J.N., Medford, E. A., & Corson, K. (2015, December).“Symptomatology of Children Exposed to Domestic Violence.”Journalof Child & Adolescent Trauma,8(4), 277-285.