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Violence & women

Violence against women is an issue that prevails in societies and communities all over the world. Race, ethnicity, or social status does not exempt women from experiencing the pain of domestic violence. Victims of domestic violence come from diverse backgrounds. However, women from certain races and ethnicities, find themselves in more hopeless and irreversible situations. These women are greatly disadvantaged when compared to Caucasian women. The most notable difference that can easily be identified as the cause of such disadvantaged is the woman’s race and ethnicity.

A woman’s color carries a certain significance in determining how difficult it will be for a victim of domestic violence to escape her situation. Although women, regardless of race and color, can seek help through various ways, women of color, more often than not, find these avenues much more limited for them. The inequality in terms of services for the victims of sexual violence are deeply rooted in three two major areas, racial differences and cultural and language barriers . Asian American women who are victims of abuse from their spouses find themselves in a predicament that are results of different factors.

One major issue that Asian American women encounter is anti-immigrant legislation. Asian American women who marry American men are always wary of the immigration law. According to Foo (273), “Anti-immigrant legislation poses the most difficult barrier to Asian immigrant women seeking safety. ” Asian women who rely on their husbands’ citizenship to gain or maintain legal immigrant status in the country are hesitant to report the abuse that they experience for fear that doing so will jeopardize their immigrant’s status.

Although, as Foo (274) points out, reforms in immigration laws have eased the pressure on Asian women to stay in an abusive marriage simply for immigration benefits, many abused or battered Asian women still fail to report the abuse. This, according to Foo is a result of the lack of education and outreach programs that would create a greater awareness among abused immigrant women regarding their expanded rights and privileges. This lack of education can also be seen from the standpoint of language differences.

A great number of Asian women who immigrate to America cannot converse effective in English. Their inability to communicate in English creates several problems for them. Foo (274) wrote that the language difference has hindered many Asian women from reporting the abuse that they experience. At the same time, police authorities do not normally have interpreters, thus preventing them from gathering the necessary information from the victims.

The language barrier also prevents Asian women from availing of shelter programs since not all shelters have Asian staff that can actually speak with the victims. (Foo, 275) Cultural factors serve great contribute to the difficulty that women of color experience in getting out and seeking help for domestic violence. In the case of Asian women, the traditional culture in Asian societies emphasizes the dependence of women and the importance of the preservation of the family.

Women who are raised with traditional Asian values are taught to be dependent on their husbands and to subject themselves to their husbands’ control. These values lead to tolerance and in some cases, acceptance of violence against wives. (Foo, 276) Furthermore, the value that the Asian culture puts on the family often leads to women staying in abusive relationships for the sake of the family. Women are often times encouraged to disregard the abuse they receive simply to keep the family intact.

In the case of Native Americans, it is the colonial imagination or characterization of their culture that inhibits them from fighting sexual violence. At the same time, the difference between their culture and that of the prevailing American culture makes it more difficult for them to seek help. As Smith (280) points out, “Native survivors of sexual violence often find no support when they seek healing and justice. When they seek help from non-Indian agencies, they are often told to disassociate themselves from their communities, where their abusers are.

.. At the same time, when Native survivors of sexual violence seek healing within their communities, other community members accuse them of undermining native sovereignty and being divisive by making their abuse public. ” This dilemma is the result of the misinterpretation of Native Indian culture and the ongoing battle against racism. Many Americans perceive sexual violence as inherent in the Native American culture. Smith points out that this is a totally wrong perception for there is no historical evidence to support such frame of mind.

Instead, Smith (280) says that sexual violence was not a part of the native culture but is instead the result of colonialism. It is evident from the Asian women ‘s and Native American women’s experience, as documented by Foo and Smith that women of color face far greater issues and difficulties than their Caucasian counterparts in fighting domestic and sexual violence. The film, “No: The Rape Documentary,” provides further evidence of how ethnicity, and in particular, race, changes the scheme of things for women of color in their battle against domestic and sexual violence.

The film’s focus on the plight of African American women victims reveals sheds further light on the difficulty that color creates for women in today’s society. It is clear that women of color face an uphill battle against domestic and sexual violence. The barriers created by culture, language, race, and ethnicity are unique to women of color. Member of today’s society must understand that women of color have unique situations and thus require solutions, assistance, and support that are unique and distinct from that of white or Caucasian women.

It is only by acknowledging the uniqueness of such situation that women of color may be given the kind of assistance and support that they need to overcome sexual and domestic violence.

Works Cited

Foo, Lora Jo. “Domestic Violence and Asian American Women. ” Women’s Lives: Multicultural Perspectives. Ed. Gywn Kirk. Boston: MA, 2006. 273-279. Smith, Andy. “Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide. ” Women’s Lives: Multicultural Perspectives. Ed. Gywn Kirk. Boston: MA, 2006. 280-289.

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