LATINA WOMEN?S ISSUES Essay, Research Paper
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND CULTURAL INFLUENCES
Domestic violence involves the systematic use of force, threats and intimidation by one partner upon another in order for the dominating partner to have control over the victim. In general, women who are abused physically are often isolated. Their partners tend to control their lives to a great extent as well as verbally degrade them. Even though the Latina women are particularly vulnerable to domestic violence because of their culture, it does not mean that this situation does not exist in other societies. Domestic violence happens in all races, religions and social statuses. It could appear in any family and in order to prevent it, everyone in the society must have knowledge of the problem, and try to contribute to stop it. There are many reasons why Latina women that have been abused by their husbands do not ask for help or call the police. The most common ones are the cultural background, the language barrier, and the fear they have of being alone.
In the Latin culture there is the belief that when a woman gets married, she should obey her husband and do whatever he wants her to do. The wife depends totally on him, and for this reason, the men think they own their female partner. Another aspect that has a huge influence in women?s decisions and does not let them feel free to call the police, is their families? opinion. The divorce is not really allowed; it is still a taboo in Latin?s families. They think that if you marry someone, this marriage must last forever. Even though the man hits you, hits your kids, or uses drugs, your responsibility as a wife is to be with him, after all ?he is your husband and there is nothing you can do to change that.?
The language barrier is also an obstacle for most of the women that suffer domestic violence in the United States. Most of Latina women do not speak English and when they decide to call the police for help, they can not explain what is going on. Therefore, the police are not able to do anything to the husband because they do not really know what the problem is. Also, the man usually threatens the wife with things such as to call immigration, come after her when he gets out of prison and kill her, or stop the legalization papers for her and their children.
In addition, Latina women grow up with the thought that a women is nothing without a man; for this reason, they are afraid to be by themselves. The women do not feel able to support their family without a man besides them. In the Latin culture, the man has exclusive control over all money and household financial matters, the woman is not allowed in the decision-making process at home. Because of this, women do not have any experience in how to run the house, get the money, and use the freedom they would get as soon as they start being away of their husbands.
There are a lot of consequences of domestic violence, but one of the worst is that boys who witness their fathers abusing their mothers are more likely to inflict severe violence as adults. This situation becomes a cycle that is going to last until the people involved in it want to change and break it.
Finally, there are few local bilingual programs for either victims or batterers, leaving what authorities say is an already isolated group vulnerable in a time of extreme crisis. Presently, there are no local Spanish programs for victims or batterers. Only a handful in the women’s advocacy system, and even fewer in the legal system, understand cultural differences that could fuel some household violence and leave women reluctant to seek help.