According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2009), Latino migration has grown consistently over the past few decades and is thought of one of the fastest-growing minority groups in the United States. Taking that into consideration, it is imperative that there be more research conducted on domestic violence within Latino populations especially when it comes to the lived experiences of immigrants (Reina, Lohman, & Maldonado, 2014).
Research conducted by Reina, Lohman and Maldonado (2014), in the Midwest of the United States with Latina immigrant victims’ of domestic violence showed the barriers faced by survivors’ seeking domestic violence services. The findings of their research found six significant themes that often hinder these women from seeking antiviolence services which are:
“immigration status, inability to understand violence given cultural norms, feeling ashamed, isolation, lack of language proficiency to a lesser extent, and a lack of knowledge of resources (Reina, Lohman, & Maldonado, 2014).”
The participants in this study (10 Latina victims of partner abuse) revealed that their immigration status was the biggest factor that influenced their behaviors on pursuing help. Reina, Lohman and Maldonado (2014), came to three conclusions about immigration status:
(a) Abusers often use the threat of immigration to control and power over their victims, which increases her vulnerability to domestic violence
(b) The victims’ immigration status influences her in seeking help services because of the fear to connect with law enforcement and social services, and lastly in regards to immigration status
(c) While there are policies in effect like The Violence Against Women Act of 1994 that prevent undocumented Latina victims or others with unstable placement from being deported, there are still many fallacies among them with regards to their unstable placement in the U.S. (Reina, Lohman, & Maldonado, 2014).
The current study was conducted on a very small sample and does not wish to make generalizations to all Latina victims from different Latino countries. The purpose of this informative research is to report the observations of the experiences of a vulnerable, marginalized, and very hard to reach group of people to show the importance of more research with a larger population (Reina, Lohman, & Maldonado, 2014).
(Source): Reina, A. S., Lohman, B. J., & Maldonado, M. M. (2014). “He said they’d deport me”: Factors influencing domestic violence help-seeking practices among latina immigrants. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 29, 593-615.