In all posts previous, I have focused on fairly neutral and uncompromising topics. I figure that it is more pleasant for me and the reader. Yet laws cover a whole universe of phenomena. Whatever has gone wrong in society will be righted and compensated by one law or another. In addition, victims, just like business owners, need to be represented by translators and interpreters. So I decided to break out of my comfort zone, my realm of informative, but safe topics, to discuss domestic violence. A man's home is his castle as the saying goes. However, when the family is struck either physically or emotionally by violence, it becomes a perverse castle indeed. It destroys relationships, instills fear, and has many consequences. It may lead children to depression, substance abuse, and poor performance in school. In short, it turns a perfectly healthy person into a poorer, despondent version — a completely avoidable situation.
Hispanics (or Latinos) represent 17.6% of America's population, and they are affected by domestic violence just like any other ethnic group. In fact:
One in three Latinas has been exposed to it.
One in twelve Latinas has experienced domestic violence in the past 12 months.
Sixty-three percent of victimized Latinas experience multiple acts of victimization.
In one study, 10% of pregnant Latinas reported physical violence during pregnancy by their partner.
Sometimes, Latinas don’t report intimate partner violence: fear and lack of confidence in the police, shame, guilt, loyalty and/or fear of partners, fear of deportation, and previous experience with childhood victimization come into play.
We need to build awareness. psychologists and social workers need to go to the schools and educate children and ask them in private whether they are victims.
It is important for parents to talk with their children about domestic violence and sexual assault.
Women need to know their options.
Fewer than three in ten Latinas have heard of intimate partner violence protective orders.
Not many knew about local domestic violence agencies. There is also the language barrier: one in three shelters do not have any Spanish-speaking staff.
Children are a major part of the domestic violence equation, yet: only half of participating shelters in a study offered child-related services, a service that is very important to Latina survivors.
They need to be reassured that their immigration status will not be at risk because of their predicament. The right to safety is a basic human right and should not be jeopardized in any way.
And to ensure that the laws in force, sufferers of domestic violence should seek legal counsel. Many times, there is a concern about money when hiring a lawyer, and some people figure that they can handle matters on their own. Unfortunately for them, this decision can be more costly than whatever legal fees they may have to pay. The suffering needs to stop; the violence needs to stop!