229576 Intimate Partner Violence among immigrant Latinas: A detailed study of victim's experiences, perceptions of abuse, and help-seeking in Alabama

Monday, November 8, 2010

Angela Marie Boy, DrPH , School of Public Health, University of Alabama, Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Andrzej Kulczycki, PhD , Department of Maternal and Child Health, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Jill Ross, PhD , School of Nursing, University of Alabama, Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Little is known about the victimization experience of Latina IPV victims and their help-seeking. We interviewed 25 immigrant Latinas who were known IPV victims living in central Alabama seeking help from a community social service agency. Victims' length of violent relationship ranged from six months to 15 years. Two women indicated violence began within the first year of marriage; 13 women (52%) reported having family/friends in Alabama, but help was not always provided. Asked to define IPV, most interviewees (60%) cited physical violence, but emotional and sexual abuse were also mentioned. Closer examination of victims' perceptions of abuse revealed three major themes: isolation, cultural disconnects, and empowerment. Isolation stemmed from language barriers, lack of access to transportation, and problems with family and friends. Cultural disconnects went beyond language; women reported feeling misunderstood by service providers and wanted them to understand how their heritage affects their decision-making. Interviewees also felt a sense of empowerment; all had escaped their violent situation and gave positive messages about leaving the relationship, speaking up and doing whatever it takes to find help. Victims sought help for IPV primarily due to concern for their children, but 32% of interviewees also cited fears of violence escalation. Asked about problems encountered when seeking help, language barriers dominated, followed by fear or threats by the partner. Additional barriers included discrimination, legal status, transportation, embarrassment, and lack of knowledge of where to seek help. This work with known victims provides new insight into the experiences of Latina victims.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain the perceptions of abuse among a sample of immigrant Latinas who are known IPV victims. 2. Discuss common themes associated with the experience of IPV among Latinas who have sought some help for coping with such abuse. 3. Describe the help-seeking process and barriers to help-seeking among a group of known Latina victims.

Keywords: Latinas, Immigrant Domestic Violence

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present given my participation in the design, implementation and analysis of the research being presented.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.