October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and we’re shedding light on important facts about abuse within the Latinx community. Latina women experience domestic violence at a shocking percentage compared to white women, and yet due to systemic issues such as language barriers and immigration status, their experiences with domestic violence are underreported.
Latina Women Are Less Likely To Seek Help
According to Esperanza United, one in three Latinas in the U.S. will experience domestic abuse during their lifetime. An even closer look at the numbers, reveals more heartbreaking statistics:
- One in 12 Latinas has experienced intimate partner violence (IPV) in the past 12 months.
- More than 60 percent of Latina women who have been victimized in their lifetime have experienced more than one victimization and from more than one person.
- A study by the National Latino Alliance for the Elimination of Domestic Violence found that 48 percent of Latinas reported that their partner’s violence had increased since they immigrated to the United States.
- Studies show that 41 percent of Latina mothers whose children remained in the home reported experiencing IPV in their lifetime, and of those mothers, 33 percent had experienced IPV in the last year.
- Esperanza United reports that Latina teenagers who experienced childhood abuse at home have higher odds of experiencing sexual intimate partner violence in adulthood in their early 20s.
Notably, many of these facts are specific to the U.S. Rates of IPV were actually lower for Mexican immigrants than for people of Mexican descent born in the United States. Dozens of similar studies for other Latinx groups found evidence for lower IPV rates among immigrant Latinas compared to U.S.-born Latinas.
Sadly, even though Latinas in the U.S. are being abused more than white women and more than Latinas in other countries, Latina abuse survivors are less likely to seek physical or behavioral health care for abuse injuries, compared with white women. To understand why, you have to look at the complex issues surrounding the Latinx community in the U.S. According to the National Partnership for Women & Families, “Reasons for not seeking care include lack of insurance coverage or affordable health care, distrust of providers, historical and ongoing racism and trauma, fear of discrimination, and barriers due to immigration status.”
Domestic Violence Is A Cycle Passed Down From Generation To Generation
Domestic violence is perpetuated across generations — the children of victims often experience abuse themselves, both as children and as adults. Organizations such as Latina SafeHouse are trying to break the cycle with an intersectional staff and community of Latinx immigrants and abuse survivors. The organization is based in Colorado, but hosts livestreams and posts resources on Facebook and Instagram for those in other parts of the country.
How to Get Out And How to Help
No one should ever have to experience domestic violence, including because of their heritage, nationality, or skin color. If you’re experiencing abuse with your partner or you know someone who is being abused, there is so much love and support and help out there. The 24/7 bilingual Esperanza United hotline is one phone call away at (651) 772-1611. And the National Domestic Violence Hotline is available via phone, chat and text 24/7 in Spanish and over 200 other languages. It’s always free and it’s always confidential. Call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or text “START” to 88788. You can also chat online at www.thehotline.org. And Latina SafeHouse has a great page (in both English and Spanish) on clearing your browser history if you share a computer or if an abuser has access to your computer.