Poster: Intimate Partner Violence among South Asian immigrant women

Intimate Partner Violence among South Asian immigrant women

Riddhi Joshi

Previous research studies on discrimination and abuse among minority women address the topic of immigration in the United States. According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the population of immigrants in the United States was at about 42.4 million in 2014 of which 51% were female. (Zong & Batalova, 2016). This means that of the 318.9 million people in the United States, about 13.3% of those individuals were immigrants. About 1.3 million immigrants entered the United States in 2014. Of those immigrants, “India was the leading country of origin for new immigrants, with 147, 500 people” (Zong & Batalova, 2016). The unequal partisan of power between immigrant and non-immigrant groups is likely to put immigrants at risk for various forms of transactions. This is specifically related to this study as many of the South Asian immigrant women experience the inequality of power within their domestic relationship. The power differentiation experienced at home is likely to transpire in their environment, where immigrant women may also experience discrimination and violence (Lipsky, Caetano, Field, & Larkin, 2006).

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence or NCADV (2015), there are about 10 million women and men who get physically abused by their intimate partner annually in the United States. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) describes it as pattern of “physical violence, sexual violence, stalking and psychological aggression (including coercive acts) by a current or former intimate partner” (Breiding, Basile, Smith, Black, & Mahendra, 2015). One of the biggest issues that the mental health field has encountered is the dearth of research done on the experience of South Asian immigrant women who have experienced Intimate Partner Violence (IPV). Although there have been numerous research studies on IPV, there seems to be a continuous need to understand the experiences of the immigrant women that are also victims of IPV. The experience of IPV among immigrant women is strongly correlated to their cultures that have defined gender roles, where the men assume the decision-making role and they expect women to be passive and submissive (Erez, 2000).

The purpose of this current qualitative, phenomenological study is to explore the lived experiences of 8-10 South Asian immigrant women, who have experienced IPV in Illinois. The objective is to understand the distress that South Asian immigrant women face, in addition to whether any motivators exist to make them feel confident in transitioning out of the domestic violence shelter. The measures will include a short questionnaire followed by an in-depth interview. Furthermore, this study involves analyzing data from semi-structured, audio taped, transcribed interviews of the participants.