What is abuse


● Dealing with multiple abusers; severe isolation because the woman has left the home country and thus her support systems; complete abandonment; hy- per-exploitation of women including elderly women’s household labor; with-holding healthcare and medication; and the mistreatment of widows.

● Mothers can be threatened with the kidnapping of their children; lose cus- tody of their children because divorced women are severely stigmatized or be- cause of prevailing cultural beliefs that children belong to fathers.

● Domestic Violence related homicides encompass a broader range of deaths; carried out through honor killings, con- tract killings, dowry (bride price re- lated) deaths, killing of family members in the home country, and being driven by husbands and in-laws into commit- ting suicide.




● Excessive restrictions designed to control women’s sexuality; grave threats about sexual activity; being blamed for rape, incest and coerced sex; being forced to marry their rapist; kept in ignorance about sex, sexual health.

● Young women can be victims of traffick- ing; as mail order brides, sex workers, or indentured workers.

● Women face sexual harassment not only from co-workers but from family mem- bers, community leaders, clergymen, etc.

● Forced marriages (not to be confused with arranged marriages) can exacer- bate sexual abuse.

● Marital rape; extreme sexual neglect; being forced to watch and imitate por- nography; and being forced into unpro- tected sex can result in sexually trans- mitted diseases, including AIDS



Distinguishing Dynamics

● Multiple Abusers in the home: Perpetrators may include mothers-in- law, fathers-in-law, brothers-in-law, sis- ters-in-law, ex-or new wives, adult sib- lings or other members of a woman’s natal family.

● Internalized devaluation and victim blaming are that much deeper when there are multiple perpetrators.

● Our women describe ‘push’ factors (“leave the house, give me a divorce, I can always find another wife, etc.”) more frequently than ‘pull’ factors (“come back to me, I love you,” etc.)

● Gender roles are tightly prescribed and more rigid, minimizing female agency and shrinking the space within which women and men can redefine those roles.



● Threats of deportation, loss of children, making false declarations to the INS about her, withholding/hiding pass- ports and other important documents, not proceeding with green card appli- cations.

● After marriage in the home country, women come here and sometimes con- tend with another partner her husband has; her vulnerable immigration status forces her to accept whatever arrange- ments he insists upon.

● Calling the police for your and your chil- dren’s physical safety will not jeopard- ize your issues with immigration. You will not be deported because of this.

● So Call 911 without fear.