Monday, October 15, 2012

Notes from Class 10-15 on Domestic Violence and Intersectionality

Dynamics of Domestic Violence

  • Man is the abusive partner, woman in survivor.
  • Heterosexual couple
  • Abuse= physical violence
  • Abusive partners are mean people with anger management issues.

  • Race, class and gender impact the political organizing to stop domestic violence (anti-DV movement reflect the mainstream narrative of DV).
  • Violence is not the only issue, many women of color also need help getting housing, and jobs.
  • Abusive tactics can reflect situational position: abusive partners witholding visas and immigration documents from survivors, abusive partners threatening to 'out' their partners to friends and family that don't know about their sexuality, etc.

  • Domestic Violence seen as culturally acceptable; uses cultural ideologies to explain abusive behavior.
  • Idea of what constitutes DV is culturally defined, and may differ from mainstream definitions.

  • Survivor believes, or is told, that they must stay in marriage to gain citizenship.
  • LGBTQ survivors believe that there are no services for them, so they don't reach out for help.
  • Undocumented survivors fear that they may get deported or lose custody of their children if they seek services.
Access to Services:


  • Survivor can (and is expected to) use legal services, the police, (to get a restraining order, get a divorce), and get into and use shelter. 
  • All services are provided in English
  • Survivor has the financial means to find her own housing and job after she leaves shelter.

  • Race, class and gender determine the type of services that you get; "Bad Victim"/ "Good Victim" Dichotomy- the more you align to the 'traditional' trajectory, the easier it is to find services and have them work for you.
  • Language Barriers- if you can't prove that you are fluent in English, many services are not accessible to you.

  • The Vietnamese women in her study used informal networks to get childcare and jobs; no need to engage with social services.
  • Didn't want to leave their husbands because they are not financially stable to do so.
  • Didn't want to expose their children to undesirable American cultural traits.

  • Indigenous women cannot prosecute non-native men.
  • Reservations have very little money to provide DV services; in rural areas services can be very far away and are therefore difficult to access if you don't have money.
  • People don't know about the U-Visa, Republicans fear that people will commit fraud in order to get them.
  • LGBTQ populations fear that services are not available for them; don't try.
Ending DV Situations

  • Leave the abusive partner
  • Utitlize the police and try to put your abusive partner in jail
  • Move somewhere else to leave your abusive partner.

  • It can be hard for women to leave their abusive partners because they are dependent on them for money or immigration status.
  • Political Organizing against DV reflects the situation of white, middle-class women.

  • Organized community shaming gets abusive partners to stop their behavior. 
  • Vietnamese immigrants are hesitant to utilize social services; seek to find solutions to problems within their own communities.

  • Publicize and utilize the U-Visa program.
  • Allow tribal governments to prosecute non-native offenders for DV and Sexual Assault.
  • Make non-discrimination against LGBTQ folks a mandatory part of VAWA to increase the services they can receive. 

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