Latina and Caribbean Immigrant Women’s Experiences With Intimate Partner Violence: A Story of Ambivalent Sexism

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Abstract

Despite extensive descriptive work on intimate partner violence (IPV) among Latina and Caribbean immigrant women (LCIW), culturally appropriate interventions for primary and secondary prevention of IPV for this population remain lacking. Developing culturally appropriate and effective prevention interventions for abused LCIW requires a more nuanced understanding regarding the dynamics of cultural values, immigration status, and manifestations of IPV. The purposes of this study were to examine LCIW’s experiences of domestic violence, using a gender stereotype framework, and to describe how ascribing to gender stereotypes perpetuates and normalizes experiences of abuse. Thirty semistructured individual interviews were conducted with LCIW (a) who were at least 18 years old and (b) who had experienced abuse from an intimate partner within the last 2 years. Overall, women described themselves as communal—being caretakers, submissive, and dependent on men. From their perspective, they described their male abusers as being controlling, angry, and violent. The risk for experiencing violence increased when women defied their prescriptive gender roles by seeking employment and by developing their social networks and activities. Substance abuse and alcohol misuse also compounded their partners’ abusive behaviors. Despite some women experiencing more abuse after migration to the United States, coming to the United States exposed them to other opportunities and ways of being a woman, which facilitated an awareness about their abuse and was a motivator for help-seeking and ending abuse. Our findings highlight the importance of addressing traditional gender stereotypes for secondary prevention of IPV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jun 1 2018

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Keywords

  • gender stereotypes
  • intimate partner violence
  • Latina and cultural contexts
  • Latina Caribbean

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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