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National Hispanic Heritage Month

Domestic violence is an epidemic that knows no bounds and affects individuals in all religious, economic, racial, and cultural groups. In fact, Domestic violence affects 1 out of every 3 women and 1 out of every 4 men in the United States (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence).  As with other racial and ethnic groups, domestic violence is a serious and prevalent problem in the Hispanic community. Like other victims, Hispanic victims face many barriers that increase safety concerns and make leaving an abusive relationship difficult.  In addition to common barriers, which include financial concerns, shame, guilt, lack of support, fear, and hope that the abuser will change, Hispanic victims face unique challenges that increase the complexities of their situations.

Cultural beliefs and norms may prohibit a Hispanic victim from seeking help or leaving their relationship. In the Hispanic community, domestic violence is often considered a family problem that must be dealt with in the home. Many Hispanic victims seek help from family, friends, or neighbors. Victims who seek help outside of their community or leave their abusive relationship may face ridicule and shame. Just the thought of leaving their relationship is difficult for Hispanic victims who have a strong regard for the family unit and feelings of responsibility for the care of their children and partner. Religion may also play an important role for many Hispanic victims who may be pressured to remain in their abusive relationship by clergy or other community members.

Abusers will often times use a Hispanic victim’s limited language skills and lack of knowledge navigating systems like the criminal justice system, social services, and even their children’s education system to further control and intimidate. A survivor’s lack of language skills may keep them from accessing the community resources and supports that would allow them to leave their abusive relationship.

For undocumented victims, the fear of deportation makes their situations even more complex. Abusers will often use a victim’s undocumented status and their lack of knowledge about their rights and immigration law to instill fear and exert control.  One victim shared how her partner told her that the visa, which granted her stay in the United Sates, only allowed her to leave her home with him. The victim believed that if she left her home without her husband, even just to walk to the nearby store, that she would be arrested and deported. As a result, the victim did not leave her home for more than 3 years. All of the victim’s knowledge and access to resources was controlled by her partner, she was unaware of her surroundings, afraid, and trapped.

According to The National Latina Network, 1 in 3 Hispanic women have experienced domestic violence in their lifetime. Fifty percent of Hispanic female victims will never report the abuse they experience. In fact, Hispanic victims are 50% less likely to report abuse than victims in non-Hispanic racial/ethnic groups. Statics show just how prevalent domestic abuse is in the Hispanic community and highlight the need for knowledge and access to resources. At Safe+Sound Somerset, help is available. Services are provided in Spanish, free of charge, and in a culturally sensitive environment.

 

References

NCADV. (2015). Domestic violence national statistics. Retrieved from www.ncadv.org

National Latin@ Network. (2016). 31 Facts About Domestic Violence in the Latin@ Community. Retrieved from https://enblog.nationallatinonetwork.org/31-facts-about-domestic-violence-in-latin-community/

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About This Blog

Safe+Sound Somerset staff members author this blog to provoke conversations about the impact of domestic abuse in our society.

About This Blog

Safe+Sound Somerset staff members author this blog to provoke conversations about the impact of domestic abuse in our society.

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