Domestic Violence and the Immgrant Experience

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Dr. Anthony Dejesus
Final Paper- Domestic Violence and Immigrant Women
Due May 1, 2013
Jeanette Santiago

Introduction to Domestic Violence In Immigrant Families:
This paper will be focusing on domestic violence and Immigrant families affected by abuse. The definition of domestic violence will be provided along with domestic violence laws, tips for agencies working with Immigrant Families, a vignette of a immigrant family who experienced domestic violence, and with my recommendations on how to properly services Latino families.

What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence come in many forms of abuse. Domestic violence can occur among family member like brother and sisters, husband and wife, lesbians, gays and transgenders. The definition of domestic violence has a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence in immigrant families consist of emotional, economic, sexual abuse, using children, threats, using citizenship or residence privilege, intimidation, and isolation. In these cycle the immigrant woman fears of being deported. The Power and Control Tactics Used Against Immigrant Women focuses on some of the many ways battered immigrant woman can be abused. Sexual Abuse: Can be calling her a prostitute or a mail order bride. Making accusations of her trying to attract other men when she puts on make-up to go to work. Accuse the woman of sleeping with other men. Making allegations that she has a history of prostitution on legal paper. Batterer tells his bride that “as a matter of law” in the United States that she must continue to have sex with him whenever he wants wants until they are divorced.

Coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact or behavior without consent. Sexual abuse includes, but is certainly not limited to, marital rape, attacks on sexual parts of the body, forcing sex after physical violence has occurred, or treating one in a sexually demeaning manner.

Emotional Abuse: Lying about her immigration status. Telling her families. Calling her racist names.

Belittling and embarrassing her in front of her family and friends. Causing her to lose face. Telling her that she has abandoned her culture and become “white,” or “American.” Preventing her from visiting sick or dying relatives. Lying about his ability to have the immigration status of his law permanent resident abuse victims changed.

Economic Abuse: Forcing her to work “illegally” when she does not a work permit. Threatening to report her to the INS if she works “under the table.” Not letting her get a job training or schooling. Taking the money her family back at home were depending upon her to send. Forcing her to sign papers in English that she does not understand – court papers, IRS forms, immigration papers. Harassing her at the only job she can work at legally in the U.S., so that she loses that job and is forced to work “illegally.”

Intimation: Hiding or destroying important papers ( i.e. her passport, her children's passport, ID cards, health care cards, etc.) Destroying the only property that she brought with her from her country. Destroying photographs of her family members. Threatening persons who serve as a source of support to her. Threatening to do or say something that will shame her family or cause them to lose face. Threatening to divulge family secrets.

Isolation: Isolating her from her friends or family members. Isolating her from persons who speak her language. Not allowing her to learn English or not allowing her to communicate in a language she is fluent in. Being the only person through whom she can communicate in English. Reading her mail and not allowing her to use the telephone. Strictly timing all her grocery trips and travel time. Not allowing her to continue to meet with...
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