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Exploring Domestic Violence Among Women in the United States.


Domestic violence among immigrant women is one of the pressing issues that is unreported. This research explores the pervasiveness of domestic violence among immigrant women in the united states. The study also identifies factors that contribute to this form of violence. Immigrant women face various types of challenges which hinder them from looking for protection or reporting such abuse. Include lack of support, fear of being deported, language barriers and limited access to resources. The study employs a mixed-method approach, incorporating qualitative research through interviews and surveys and quantitative data analysis. Several research questions guide the investigation, including identifying the forms of domestic violence faced by immigrants compared to non-immigrants, understanding how cultural norms and limited social support contribute to domestic violence, and exploring the role of intersectionality in shaping their experiences. The research uses mixed methodologies to obtain the data required for such. It corporates qualitative research through interviews and surveys, and quantitative data analysis. The study also compares the historical and contemporary context of domestic violence against immigrant women. The study outlines how awareness, advocacy, and legal reforms have increased in the contemporary context.

Keywords: Domestic Violence, qualitative research. Quantitative research, immigrants, politics, economic violence, exploitation.

Exploring Domestic Violence Among Women in the United States.

In today’s world, different people and organizations are protesting and campaigning for women’s emancipation and empowerment. The position of women in society has been diminished and criticized, making women abused and demeaned. Women’s violence has been one of the pressing issues in society, especially in the United States. Through conducting a study, people can identify and understand the unique challenges that immigrant women face and be highlighted factors that cause women violence. In our subsequent research discussion, we will explore the pervasiveness of domestic violence among immigrant women in the united states.

Domestic violence against immigrant women is the biggest issue that is unreported. Several factors contribute to this kind of domestic violence. Victims are firstly disadvantaged by the fact that they are immigrants. They do not have cultural norms or access to resources. These immigrant women also fear being deported, which outweighs the benefit of seeking protection. They may also fear trusting anyone since they experience a lot of social injustice (racial, ethnic, and gender-based violence), thus calling for enlightenment about domestic violence against immigrant women.

This paper will use different strategies to collect data about domestic violence experienced by immigrant women. Qualitative research is valuable for understanding individuals’ experiences, perspectives, and emotions and exploring complex social issues. This study will use qualitative methods to gather in-depth insights into domestic violence experienced by immigrant women. Two primary qualitative methods will be employed, interviews and surveys. During group or individual discussions, interviewers will provide their experience of domestic violence. The domestic violent victims will share their thoughts and feelings through open-ended questions, providing qualitative data. Survey methodology will give a broader perspective since surveys will cover a larger sample of immigrant women. Surveys can also be admitted through electronic means or community organizations.

The paper will focus on several research questions.

  1. What are the most forms of domestic violence faced by immigrants, and how do they compare with those of non-immigrants?
  2. How do cultural norms, acculturation stress, language barriers, and limited social support increase the chance of domestic violence against immigrant women?
  3. What are several barriers immigrant women face in seeking support and protection?
  4. How does intersectionality influence the experiences of domestic violence among immigrant women?

Literature Review.

As stated earlier, domestic violence against immigrant women has been rampant, and different scholars have tried to enlighten society on the same issue in the United States. Wilkins and other scholars, in their article, stated that violence will lead to more violence. People subjected to violence are like to receive more different forms of violence. They noted that a survivor of a specific form of violence is highly likely to be in other states. These scholars gave an example that Girls who are sexually abused are more likely to suffer physical violence and sexual re-victimization, engage in self-harming behaviour, and be a victim of intimate partner violence later in life (Wilkins et al., 2014). He still states that victims of violence act violently and cause more violence to other people surrounding him or them.

In his article, Nancy Scheper-Hughes (2004) also tries to explain what domestic violence means. He highlights several concepts of what violence is. Firstly, he argues that violence is a complex and multifaceted concept that is nonlinear, productive, destructive, and reproductive. Violence can give birth to itself, creating chains, spirals, and mirrors of violence, forming a continuum of violence. Various forms of violence are interconnected and mimetically reproduced, such as wife beaters and sexual abusers being victims of abuse themselves. Domestic violence is a complex and multifaceted concept that is nonlinear, productive, destructive, and reproductive. Structural violence, like poverty and social exclusion, can lead to intimate and domestic violence. Violence involves physical aspects and assaults on the victim’s personhood, dignity, and sense of worth. The social and cultural dimensions of violence give it power and meaning. The passage refers to specific instances of violence in historical contexts, such as apartheid in South Africa. Defining violence is challenging, and it can be legitimate or illegitimate, visible or invisible, necessary or useless, depending on perspectives. Acts of Violence may be perceived differently based on political-economic positions, leading to varied interpretations of violent acts. Violence is a part of the human condition, along with its opposite, the rejection of violence.

In his article, farmer, P. (2004) also highlights the impact of historical and economic processes that lead to poverty, racism, sexism, and political violence, ultimately influencing individuals’ life choices and opportunities. It emphasizes that suffering is not just a matter of personal attributes but is structured by social forces and inequalities. Different groups of women in society suffer various forms of violence in their communities. There are multiple forms of violence which include political economy violence. Other scholars have shared this with face different forms of Violence—organization through their journals and books. Political economy violence against women involves using women as a source of labour to benefit the nation’s economy. According to scholar True (2012) in the Australian feminist journal, “Globalization introduces new vulnerabilities to violence, as well as offering potential for empowerment through labor migration. However, neoliberal government policies that fail to attend to individuals’ and families’ basic social and economic entitlements make violence against women a more likely outcome than empowerment.” The journals also argue that policies focused on constructing economic interest and led to financial exploitation, physical abuse, and violence against migrant women workers. The journal also provides an example of political economy violence in Uganda. During the civil war, women were reportedly raped to extract resources from them and take away the community’s agricultural labour force. Because women do the majority of agricultural work in that country, soldiers attempted to stop women from being able to work, effectively cutting the food supply to them.

Domestic violence also affects immigrants and develops from hatred and racism. Hate is learned; one is not born hateful from the womb. According to Cerre’s (2021) video, some domestic violence include attack and saying means words toward immigrants and even physical attack, which result in injuries and, in the case of old heath, leads to loss of life. His video provides scenarios of hate and racism and how they may have been developed. In one of the former present, Donald Triumph’s speeches, he refers to the coronavirus as a Chinese disease. This term creates hatred between the Chinese and the Americans.

Consequently, his opponent called a Chinese basketballer coronavirus while playing in the NBA developmental league. In the video, he also highlights an interview with Russell Jueng (started to stop hate against Asian America Pacific Islanders (AAPI), which rose during the Covid-19 pandemic. Russell Jueng elaborates on how this hatred brought domestic violence to foreigners, especially the Chinese.

Data Analysis

Historical Context

In the historical context, the issue of domestic violence against women has deep roots in societal norms, gender roles, and power dynamics. Throughout history, women have faced systemic oppression and discrimination, perpetuating violence against them. Due to the intersecting discrimination based on gender and immigration status, immigrant women are highly vulnerable to violence. The mistreatment of immigrant women in the historical context occurred during the colonization period, where there was slavery and exploitation of different societies. Women were seen as disposable labourers and endured sexual exploitation. Historically, women were raped during peacetime and wartime, according to Scheper-Hughes et al. (2004). The rape was a symbolic act of violence against the female. Historical examples of political economy violence, where women are exploited as a source of labour, demonstrate how larger economic structures can perpetuate violence against immigrant women. Uganda during civil wars is a perfect example of how women were treated during the civil war.

During forced migration and slavery, women were forcedly transported across different continents to serve as concubines and labourers. The act of forced immigration and slavery dehumanized women in historical error and subjected them to various forms of violence, such as physical, emotional, and sexual violence. During immigration, different women came from patriarchal societies and fled from their abusive husbands. According to the journal written by Liversage. (2022). He talks about the hardship immigrant women face when they want to leave their abusive partners. This journal shows how cultural norms and patriarchal systems limited women’s rights and opportunities. Women from patriarchal societies faced additional challenges asserting their urgency to seek protection from domestic violence. Throughout history, discriminatory laws and policies in various countries have perpetuated the vulnerability of immigrant women. These policies might have limited their access to legal recourse or social support, making it difficult for them to escape abusive situations. Historically, there were limited legal protections and support services for victims of domestic violence, particularly for immigrant women. Societal attitudes often blamed the victim, which further discouraged reporting of abuse.

Historically, Women have been subjected to marginalization and stereotyping, which subjected them to various forms of domestic violence, which included harmful stereotypes that perpetuated the notion that certain groups of immigrant women were more submissive or sexually available, which contributed to their victimization. During immigration, immigrant women found themselves socially isolated. This isolation left them more susceptible to abuse, as they had fewer resources and allies to turn to for help.

Contemporary Context

In contemporary society, people have created awareness of the domestic violence of immigrant women as a social issue. Campaign and fight for women’s right in society have grown substantially. Various activists, organizations and policymakers have laid their efforts to fight for women’s rights and address gender-based violence. For example, Erez, E., & Hartley (2001) in the book they provide valuable insights into the challenges faced by immigrant women and shed light on the need for culturally sensitive approaches in addressing domestic violence in immigrant communities.

Awareness and advocacy of domestic Violence for immigrant women have increased. Campaigns, protests, and social media movements have shed light on the issue, sparking conversations and encouraging action on domestic violence. Different initiatives have been developed to help calm domestic violence. Cerre (2022) exemplifies the advocacy and awareness that has set the fight against violence. From the video, Russell Jeung forms a movement to stop Asian American Pacific Islander hate. Different platform has been provided to help the survivors share their stories. In the same video by Cerre (2022), when NBA basketballer Jeremy Lin received racism, he used the platform to make awareness about the people about anti-hate that was brought about by the rise of Covid 19 Pandemic.

Contemporary society has witnessed significant legal and policy reforms to combat domestic violence and protect victims. In many countries, including the United States, laws are now in place to address domestic violence and provide support and resources to survivors. These reforms aim to create a safer environment for women to report abuse without fear of deportation or retaliation. Due to increased recognition of the unique challenges that immigrant women face, culturally sensitive support services have been developed (Erez & Hartley, 2001). Different organizations and advocacy organizations are focused on assisting immigrant women through their native language and understanding their cultural norms. These efforts aim to prevent barriers that prevent immigrant women from seeking protection.

In the contemporary context, the concept of intersectionality has also gained popularity. By identifying that individual experiences are shaped through the intersectionality of different factors, such as ethnicity, people delve into approaches that address domestic violence against immigrant women. The survivors of domestic violence can be assisted accordingly and meet their needs by understanding how different forms of oppression intersect. Despite progress, several challenges persist in addressing domestic violence against immigrant women. Fear of deportation, economic dependence, language barriers, and lack of social support continue to hinder immigrant women from seeking help. Rai. (2021) In his article, he argues for Indirect experiences with domestic Violence among South Asian immigrants in the United States. He highlights the importance of understanding the specific challenges faced by South Asian immigrant women in accessing support services. Additionally, underreporting of abuse remains an issue, as cultural norms and stigmas around discussing domestic violence may prevent some survivors from coming forward.

Global events like the COVID-19 pandemic can soothe domestic violence against immigrant women. Chinese immigrants got maltreated and received violence as they were termed coronavirus. The disease was also nicknamed as Chinese virus, thus creating more hostility between the united states and China. Lockdowns and social isolation measures may increase the risk of abuse since the isolated victims have limited access to support services and resources. Economic hardships and stress during challenging times can contribute to domestic violence incidents.

Moreover, the globalized world has led to increased labour migration, exposing women to new vulnerabilities. Economic exploitation and precarious working conditions can trap immigrant women in abusive situations with limited resources to escape. Contemporary immigration policies and rhetoric can further marginalize immigrant women, especially undocumented ones. The fear of deportation and family separation may deter them from reporting domestic violence incidents, leaving them vulnerable and dangerous (Tiede, 2004). The literature review synthesizes and elaborates on how various factors contribute to domestic violence against immigrant women. The cycle of violence concept suggests that people who receive violence are likely to perpetuate it, underscoring the importance of breaking this cycle through intervention and support. Political economy violence is an example of how the economic system intensifies violence against immigrant women. They are exploited as a cheap labour source, leading to the abuse and mistreatment of women. This perspective highlights the need for labour protections and fair immigration policies that protect the rights of foreign women workers.


Domestic violence against immigrant women in the United States is a pervasive but largely unreported issue, exacerbated by cultural norms, acculturation stress, language barriers, and limited social support. Immigrant women face significant challenges in seeking protection, fearing deportation and mistrusting others due to experiences of social injustice. To shed light on this pressing problem, qualitative research employing interviews and surveys will be used to gather in-depth insights from survivors. The study aims to address key research questions concerning the forms of domestic violence faced by immigrants compared to non-immigrants, the influence of cultural norms and intersectionality on violent experiences, and the barriers they encounter while seeking support. Analyzing historical and contemporary contexts makes it evident that systemic oppression and discrimination have perpetuated violence against immigrant women. However, efforts such as increased awareness, culturally sensitive support services, and legal reforms have emerged to combat the issue. Recommendations for policymakers include further strengthening legal protections, empowering women economically, and adopting an intersectional approach to address the unique challenges immigrant women face. This paper contributes significantly to the existing literature by comprehensively exploring domestic violence against immigrant women, advocating for informed policies and societal awareness to create a safer environment for vulnerable populations. The role of hate, racism and xenophobia in creating violence against immigrant women is also addressed in the review.


Wilkins, N., Tsao, B., Hertz, M., Davis, R., & Klevens, J. (2014). Connecting the Dots: An Overview of the Links Among Multiple Forms of Violence. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrievable from:

Scheper-Hughes, N. & Bourgois, P. (Eds.) (2004). Introduction. In Scheper-Hughes, N. & Bourgois, P. (Eds.), violence in war and peace: An anthology (pp. 1 – 32). Blackwell Publishers.

Farmer, P. (2004). On suffering and structural Violence: A view from below. In Scheper-Hughes, N. & Bourgois, P. (Eds.), violence in war and peace: An anthology (pp. 281 – 289). Blackwell Publishers.

True, J. (2012). Crossing Borders to Make Ends Meet: Sex Trafficking, the Maid Trade, and Other Gendered Forms of Labor Exploitation. In True, J. (Eds) The Political Economy of Violence against Women.

Cerre, M. (2021). “Hate is Learned”: Tracing the History of Anti-Asian Violence in America. PBS News Hour. (video)

Rai. (2021). Indirect experiences with domestic violence and help-seeking preferences among South Asian immigrants in the United States. Journal of Community Psychology, 49(6), 1983–2002.

Liversage. (2022). Having the Lower Hand—Investigating Interaction in the Life Course Narratives of Immigrant Women Exposed to Partner Abuse. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 37(15-16), NP13203–NP13225.

Menjívar, & Salcido, O. (2002). Immigrant Women and Domestic Violence: Common Experiences in Different Countries. Gender & Society, 16(6), 898–920.

Erez, E., & Hartley, C. C. (2001). Immigrant Status Affects Victim Reporting of Domestic Violence. In J. D. Lloyd (Ed.), Current Controversies. Family Violence. Greenhaven Press. (Reprinted from Western Criminology Review, 2003, 4[2], 155-169)

Tiede, L. B. (2004). The Legal Status of Battered Immigrant Women. In L. Gerdes (Ed.), Contemporary Issues Companion. Battered Women. Greenhaven Press.


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