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Domestic Violence

The Refugee and Immigrant Experience

Tapestri, Inc.

mission statement
Mission Statement

Tapestri is dedicated to ending violence and oppression in immigrant and refugee communities, using culturally competent and appropriate methods. As advocates for immigrant and refugee families affected by domestic violence, sexual assault and exploitation, we are committed to using education, community organizing, direct services and advocacy to effect change in the lives of these families.

tapestri inc services
Tapestri Inc. Services
  • Provide legal advocacy to battered immigrant and refugee women.
  • Provide direct services to victims of human trafficking.
  • Offer a 24 week Family Violence Intervention Program, designed for immigrant & refugee men.
  • Provide community education & outreach for the immigrant and refugee community.
  • Provide trainings for mainstream service providers.
what is domestic violence
What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner.

The abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure or wound someone.

early signs
Early Signs
  • HE’S TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE: Individuals who engage in domestic violence are often perfectionists and demand that those around them also be perfect. They lash out at others when mistakes occur or when things are not just exactly as they want them to be. This sets up their own justification for violent actions toward their partner.
  • POSSESSION AND JEALOUSY/ ACCUSATIONS OF AFFAIRS: this sort of accusation occurs with a partner who is controlling and demands accountability for every moment of the day. This often stems from internal feelings of insecurity and poor self-esteem on the part of the partner. Accuses you of flirting/having sexual relationships with others; monitors your clothing/make-up.
  • COVERED-UP INJURIES: Victims of abuse often cover up injuries out of embarrassment and shame that they are involved in an abusive relationship.
AVOIDING CONFLICT: Another warning sign of someone being involved in an abusive relationship is a tendency to avoid conflict. Although this characteristic could stem initially from experiences with domestic violence, avoidance behaviors can spill over into other relationships, including friends and coworkers.
  • CHANGES IN PERSONALITY: one of the primary indicators of domestic violence is marked changes in a person's personality and demeanor. This can include not only avoiding conflict, as mentioned above, but also a lowering of self-esteem and withdrawing into herself. As the relationship devolves into becoming more and more abusive, a woman may go from being outgoing and full of confidence to being careful about what she says and does, so that she does not trigger an outburst from her partner. These changes in personality can appear in other areas of her life, until this becomes a dominating feature of her personality.
breaking the myths about dv1
Breaking the Myths about DV
  • Domestic Violence is not a family private matter.

To many people continue to believe that domestic violence is a private matter between a couple, rather than a criminal offense that merits a strong and swift response.

  • Domestic Violence is not caused by anger, alcohol or Drugs.

If the abuser is truly unable to control his anger, why doesn’t he lash out at every person who makes him mad? Why is his family the only target of his violence? The abuser knows that society will accept the excuse that alcohol or drugs lower his inhibitions and “allow” him to be violent. Though substance abuse may exacerbate or trigger the abuse, it is still a choice that the man makes

  • It is not caused by the victim’s behavior

There is no provocation that justifies an abuser’s action. Using violence is a choice.

The abuser is not always the male partner

In many cultures, there is a definite hierarchy within the extended family. The oldest members may have the most authority and expect the newest members to serve them.

The abuser may be a mother-in-law who expects the daughter-in-law to be a servant. The batterer may be a father-in-law who expected the daughter-in-law to bring a higher dowry.

In many cultures, the way a person behaves is a reflection of the entire family’s reputation. Female family members may be punished if their behavior is seen to break the rules and “dishonor” the family.

The batterer could also be a sibling, a child, or anyone else in the family.

DV also occurs in same sex relationships.

why does he batter
Why Does He Batter?
  • He’s learned that it gets him the results he wants.
  • It makes him feel like a “man” when he can dominate and control another person.
  • He’s found that no one will hold him responsible for his violence.
why does she stay

Why does She Stay?

Barriers faced by Immigrant and Refugee Battered Women

Economic Barrier
  • Cultural Barrier
  • Legal Barrier
  • Language Barrier
  • Fear of Deportation
economic barriers
Economic Barriers
  • Economic dependence on husband
  • May not have work authorization, thus employer may not risk hiring her
  • Low paying job with no benefits or job security
  • She may not be eligible for public assistance
  • Relatives in her home country may need financial assistance
  • Fear that reporting the abuse may lead to his being deported, leaving her without support
cultural barriers
Cultural Barriers
  • Community may ostracize her if she leaves partner
  • Her culture may find it acceptable for a husband to beat his wife and for her to endure it
  • Lack of Safety Measures in Home Country to protect victims for batterers or batterer’s family
  • Protection of spouse’s standing in community
  • Cultural norms concerning a woman’s place, her role andfamily expectations
  • In same-sex relationships, fear that they may be “outed.”
  • Responsibility to siblings. Her divorce may scare off her siblings’ potential suitors
legal barriers
Legal Barriers
  • May have distrust of the legal system that originated from her own experience in her country of origin
  • Difficulty understanding the U.S. legal system
  • Belief that the judiciary does not function independently from the government
  • Expectations that people with money, U.S. citizenship or ties with the government will prevail in courts
  • Belief that undocumented immigrants will be denied access to legal services or will not be treated fairly
language barriers
Language Barriers
  • Limited access to shelter, police and court services because of lack of bilingual professionals who can provide services
  • May not feel welcome or comfortable seeking or using services
  • The assumption that because she speaks English, she is able to navigate the U.S. system
additional reasons she may stay
Additional reasons she may stay
  • Fear that safety because it’s most dangerous when she leaves.
  • She has seen so much violence in her life, she thinks it’s normal
  • Denial that the man she married is capable of hurting her or her children
  • She wants him to change
  • She believes that there is no real punishment that will make him stop and keep her safe
She doesn’t know what kind of help is available

Belief that the children need a father, even if he’s abusive

Social stigma of revealing to outsiders that there is violence

She loves him

identification of dv difficulties
Identification of DV – Difficulties
  • Denial by both victims and perpetrators.
  • Traditional view about gender roles
  • Barriers to disclosure ( financial, immigration status, housing, social isolation, child custody, cultural and traditional beliefs, religion, gender)
  • Accepts responsibilities for the batterer’s actions.
Victims low self-esteem may make her believe that no one will be able to help her.
  • Denies the terror and anger.
  • May not feel welcome or comfortable seeking or using services
  • The assumption that because she speaks English, she is able to navigate the U.S. system
helping and supporting victims
Helping and Supporting Victims
  • Address Safety Issue
  • Validate and support ( Victims are not responsible for the abuse )
  • Provide Information ( community resources )
  • Victims Empowerment
help all battered immigrant women can receive
Help All Battered Immigrant Women Can Receive
  • Services from shelters and other domestic violence programs;
  • Civil protection orders from a court;
  • Custody and support for children;
  • Police assistance;
  • Emergency medical care;
  • The abuser can be criminally prosecuted; and
  • Children born in the U.S. can receive public benefits.
what is a tpo
What is a TPO?

The Temporary Protection Order restrains the abuser from doing, attempting to do, threatening to do any act of injury, maltreating, molesting, following, harassing, harming, or abusing you and/or your minor children in any manner. It orders the abuser not to attempt to come within a certain number of yards of the victim and her children. This includes her house, place of employment, and children's school or daycare. A petition for a TPO can be filed for both acts of Domestic Violence or Stalking. The victim should be able to describe the most recent incident that occurred.

Should include the actual acts, the extent of injury, and any medical attention required from the incident.
  • It should indicate if children were present
  • If the police were called, and if the abuser was arrested.
  • The victim should be able to tell the Court if the abuser is an alcoholic, has weapons, or uses drugs.
  • If the abuser lives in Georgia, the TPO must be filed in the county where the abuser lives.
  • The TPO will remain in effect unless specifically superseded by a subsequent signed and filed Order, by operation of law, or by Order of Dismissal, whichever occurs first.
Only the Court can void, modify, or dismiss the Order. Either party may ask the Court to change or dismiss the Order by appearing before the Judge of the Superior Court.
  • Violation of a TPO may be punishable by arrest and criminal prosecution or by civil penalties.
  • Do not require a Immigration legal status
5 immigration options
5 Immigration Options
  • 1. The self-petition under the Violence Against Women Act;
  • 2. Cancellation of Removal under the Violence Against Women Act if you have been placed in deportation proceedings;
  • 3. The battered spouse waiver;
  • 4. The crime victims visa which is called a U visa; and
  • 5. Gender-based asylum
helpful resources information
Helpful Resources & Information

Tapestri Related Numbers

  • Tapestri main line – 404-299-2185
  • Tapestri DV Hotline (regular business hours) – 1-866-562-2873
  • Trafficking Hotline (24 hours) – 1-866-317-3733
  • Caminar Latino – 404-413-6348
  • International Women’s House – 770-413-5557
  • Raksha – 404-842-0725
  • Refugee Family Services – 404-299-6217
  • Shalom Bayit – 770-677-9322
  • Center for Pan Asian Community Services – 770-936-0969
Additional Helpful Numbers in Georgia
  • Catholic Social Services Immigration Clinic- 404-881-6571 or
  • Georgia Legal Services – 1-800-643-1212
  • Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence – 1-800-SAFE-HAVEN

National Numbers

  • AT&T Language Line – 1-800-528-5888
  • National Center for Missing & Exploited Children – 1-800-THE-LOST (Can assist if there is a fear of child abduction and offer steps necessary to prevent kidnapping either interstate or outside the U.S.)
  • Legal Momentum (Immigrant Women’s Project) – 1-202-326-0040

Helpful Websites

  • – Advanced Special Immigrant Survivors Technical Assistance