Domestic Violence in Immigrant Families

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Uhunmwagho I. Angela
SOCW 357: Social Work, Law and Social Policy            Assignment Three: Canadian Human Rights Report
Topic – Violence against immigrant women in South Asian, African and Korean communities
Instructor: Jane Birbeck

March 21st, 2011

Annotated Bibliography: Violence against Immigrant Women in South Asian, African and Korean Communities An annotated bibliography
Annotated Bibliography Introduction
This paper analyzes the phenomenon of violence against immigrant women, specifically within South Asian, African and Korean communities in North America. The paper will examine factors that arise from the process of immigration for these cultural groups that pose as barriers to immigrant families in preserving cultural norms while maintaining their marital relationships. This paper will highlight the experiences, barriers and intervention strategies available for immigrant women, focusing more on Canada and the United States. The paper will also examine the role of cultural values, context and immigrant status that increase susceptibility to domestic violence within immigrant families. The influence of patriarchal beliefs on perception of abuse will also be discussed in this paper. The paper will examine the laws, policies, community resources and services available to battered immigrant women in Canada and the United States, as well as examining the role of women activists in combating the problem of violence against women. The paper will further examine and challenge existing structural factors that hinder immigrant battered women from accessing available services in their communities. The paper will conclude by providing recommendations to some of these challenges discussed and emphasize the need for culturally-competent service providers and culturally-sensitive services to support these three cultural groups in the fight against domestic violence in families.

1. Agnew, V. (2009). Racialized migrant women in Canada: Essays on health, violence, and equity. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. The second chapter of this book describes the gaps in services among immigrant communities in Halifax by exploring the experiences of abused women in an effort to provide a better understanding of the context and dynamics of violence against women from the perspective of the abused women, while focusing on specific patriarchal gender relations among immigrant families in Halifax. Agnew (2009) begins by highlighting structural barriers that contribute to violence against women, including poverty, racism, patriarchy and unemployment. She asserts that cultural and linguistic barriers serve as a major challenge to help seeking responses by immigrant women. Agnew further provides past documented facts about South Asians, Africans and Koreans. For example, South Asians have shown to be highly susceptible to spousal abuse due to factors such as social isolation, lack of awareness of services and absence of family and community support, and are more likely to resolve violence matters within the family. Korean Americans were found to be less patriarchal and more egalitarian in terms of power structures. African immigrants in Toronto attribute violence against women to structural factors rather than specific cultural beliefs and practices. African Canadian women who are recent immigrants, below 35 years of age that come from a home country with a violent recent history and sponsored by their spouses are more susceptible than others. Agnew continues by stating that the confusing and intimidating nature of the Canadian justice system discourages many immigrant women from activating their rights and accessing available services. She also explains that many immigrants object to the lack of culturally sensitive services provided by mainstream service providers who tend to treat all immigrants as one and the same, thereby making distinct cultural groups feel invisible. She also identified...
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