Domestic Violence and the Hispanic Community: Cultural Competency, Victimology & Advocacy Jose Juan Lara, Jr., MA Texas Advocacy Project Austin
Definition Of Culture • disability status • immigration status • education • geographic location (space) • rural, urban, • time, or • other axes of identification • within the historical context of oppression • race • ethnicity • national origin • sexuality • gender • religion • age • class
Is there a difference…? Hispanic Latino
Hispanic • USA Official use of the term Hispanic has its origins in the 1970 United States Census. The Census Bureau attempted to identify all Hispanics by use of the following criteria in sampled sets: • Spanish speakers and persons belonging to a household where Spanish was spoken • Persons with Spanish heritage by birth location • Persons who self-identify with Spanish ancestry or descent
Latino • Since its official adoption in 1997, the definition and usage of the term by the Federal Government is strictly as an ethnic, as opposed to racial, identifier, used together with the term Hispanic. • Authorities of American English maintain a distinction between the terms Hispanic and Latino. Latino is not officially used as a racial label, as a 'Latino' or 'Latin American' can be of any race.
TEXAS FAMILY CODE “FAMILY” includes blood relatives or relatives by marriage, former spouses parents (married or not) of the same child, foster parents and foster children, or any member or former members of a household (people living in the same house, related or not). 71.003 Texas Family Code
TEXAS FAMILY CODE “FAMILY VIOLENCE” means: an act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or house hold that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, or that is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but DOES NOT INCLUDE DEFENSIVE MEASURES TO PROTECT ONESELF. 71.004 Texas Family Code
TEXAS FAMILY CODE “DATING VIOLENCE” means: an act by an individual that is against another individual with whom that person has or has had a dating relationship and that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonable places the individual in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but DOES NOT INCLUDE DEFENSIVE MEASURES TO PROTECT ONESELF. 71.0021 Texas Family Code
TEXAS FAMILY CODE “DATING RELATIONSHIP” means: a relationship between individuals who have or have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. Factors for the court to consider include the length and nature of the relationship as well as the frequency and type of interaction between individuals. A casual acquaintanceship or “ordinary fraternization” is excluded. 71.0021 Texas Family Code
Texas Statistics on Abuse • 77% of all Hispanic Texans indicate that either themselves, a family member and/or a friend have experienced some form of domestic violence. • 40% of Hispanic Texans who reported experiencing at least one form of domestic violence took no action.
Texas Statistics on Abuse • 50% of all Hispanic Texans believe domestic violence is caused by circumstances beyond the batterers control showing that the Hispanic Texas community needs more information on domestic violence. • 82% of all Hispanic Texans believe that it is never appropriate to stay in an abusive relationship, yet 46% acknowledge that leaving an abusive relationship can be more dangerous than staying.
Texas Statistics on Abuse • 83% of all Hispanic Texans agree that a husband who abuses his wife is more likely to also abuse his children; yet only 47% indicate a belief that domestic violence passes from generation to generation. • Hispanic Texans, like the general population, have both a limited definition of domestic violence and have a willingness to blame victims for the abuse they suffer.
Marianismo • idealizes women as the custodians of virtue, piety, morality, and spirituality; from Maria, or Mary, the Virgin Mother of God in the Catholic tradition
La Hembra • is sexually innocent (virgin at marriage) • is subservient to men • works primarily in the home • is the caretaker of her (many) children • is modest in dress & behavior • avoids alcohol and tobacco
Traditional Hispanic Culture Does Not Support>> • Female Independence • Single Lifestyle • Career-mindedness • Criticism of male partner (even for infidelity, gambling, verbal or physical abuse, drug or alcohol use) • Asking for help • Discussion of personal problems outside the home. • Self-indulgence • Outside help with the children • Sexuality as pleasurable for mothers
Machismo • a cultural ideal that exalts male virility, superiority and control, especially over women
El Valiente • Is physically strong. • Is able to handle large amounts of alcohol. • Has many sexual relations with women. • Takes pride in being the primary breadwinner. • Is physically/verbally violent with women. • Shows little empathy. • Has many children (takes particular pride in having boys). • Is fearless. • Expects that others (especially women) serve him hand and foot.
Hispanic Cultural Influences • Family Unity (familismo)- respect and loyalty to family. Family first. • Stoic Attitudes- problems should be endured with courage and dignity • Gender roles- abnegation (mother), responsibility and authority (father), obedience (children). • Religious views- enduring suffering as a moral test from God
Traditional Roles & Family Violence • Priority is a sense of duty and concern for her children • Judged harshly by extended family for taking action – punishing her husband through legal system • Seeking help is airing the families – an act of disloyalty • Fear of not fulfilling family’s expectations
Traditional Roles & Family Violence • Personal relationships take priority over professional or institutional ones • Latinos are less likely to place their trust in an organization • Latinos are often more formal in their initial interactions with people who are not friends or family • It is crucial to maintain consistency to establish trust
Why Remain? • The value of community over individualism • The cultural acceptance of male domination encourages the battered woman aguantar (put up with it, endure it) the relationship. • Economic dependence on the abuser • Immigration status • Limited availability of bi-lingual social services and law enforcement and court services • Weak extended family relationships • Lack of language skills, education and job training • Belief that it is better for the children if they have both parents together • Fear that the abuser will retaliate and make good on his threats usually to harm the children or even commit suicide • Feelings of gratitude toward her abuser for bringing her to this country and for supporting her and the children and she has no other place to go
Barriers for Clients • How can our understanding or lack of understanding of our client’s background be a barrier? • How is OUR culture a barrier for clients? • What are the issues that we have to consider?
The Million Dollar Question I see the barriers for clients and the true dynamics of culture, now what can I do?
The simple answer with the not-so-simple process Increase your cultural competency
Intersectionality • People live multi-layered lives derived from social relations, history and the operation of the structures of power. • Expose all types of discrimination that occur as a consequence of the combination. • No categorizing people, no single form of discrimination – exposes full range of vulnerabilities as it links all structures of oppressions.
So, what does this mean? • In what ways does this understanding of culture affect our work? • Who are you • Who is the victim • How do you see the victim as they see you • What is the context of your work and the principles that guide it • How do all these come together
Myths About Cultural Competence Myth # 1: There are too many cultures. I cannot possibly learn what I need to know about all of them. • learns to recognize and reject his or her preexisting beliefs about a culture • focuses on understanding information provided by individuals within the context at hand (e.g., victims, witnesses, etc.) • foregoes the temptation to classify or label persons with cultural names
Myth # 2: I have examined my preconceptions about the various cultures in my jurisdiction, changed some of my thoughts, and now feel culturally competent to deal with people who might appear in court. • Cultural competence is not a one-time, finite achievement. It is a process that is applied in every case (usually many times)
Myth # 3: As a person of color, I know what it means to be culturally sensitive. I don't need any special training on how to practice cultural competence. • Different levels of awareness and sensitivity about his or her own and other cultures. • Every human being holds preconceptions about "different" cultures [and] must use some kind of deliberate, analytical process to examine cultural misinformation and strive for cultural competence.
Culturally Competent Assumptions • All cultures are contradictory (both oppressive and nurturing) • Each victim is not only a member of her/his community, but a unique individual with their own responses and shaped by multiple factors. • Each individual comes into any encounter with cultural experiences and perspectives that might differ from those present in the system. • All institutions have to develop specific policies and procedures to systematically build cultural competence.
Language, Knowledge, Physical, Sexual and Cultural Differences in Mainstream Social Service Agencies • Language Barriers • Food Preferences • Privacy Concerns • Survivor and Recovery Process • Accessibility Issues • Sexual Identity • Limited knowledge of Victim Legal Rights and/or Protections
Lack of Resources • Lack of a support system leads to isolation • Lack of economic resources • Lack of transportation • Lack of language appropriate resources • Lack of (sufficient) legal aid
Three Strategies to OvercomeCultural Barriers 1. Partner with specialists. 2. Use cultural mediators. 3. Find practical resources.
Partnering with specialists • Ethnic organizations. • Community Based Organizations that serve vulnerable populations. • Justice networks that include minorities. • Local advocates, nonprofits and leaders. • Communities of faith: churches, mosques, temples, synagogues… • Specialized national or regional nonprofits.
CULTURAL MEDIATORS • Trained interpreters. • Community liaisons. • Staff with community connections to underserved populations. • Outreach specialists, promotoras.
RESOURCES • OVC website • Multiethnic or multilingual posters • Internet resources • Ethnic or community “profiles” (most are free) • Monolingual or bilingual client/victim education brochures, guides, booklets • Books and articles by specialized nonprofits, researchers and advocates • Ethnic organizations’ libraries • Contact the trainer for a free listing of resources.
LEGAL ISSUES Title VI, Civil Rights Act Executive Order 13166 ADA Victim Bill of Rights VAWA Other access laws OUTCOMES for victims Unequal access to victim services Discrimination Fear to seek help Illness, trauma Repeated abuse Death (domestic violence) Why Should We Care?
What is the victim’s perspective? How does he/she sees you? How do you see him/her as he/she sees you?
Legal Advocacy • Recognize the importance of establishing trust with your client. • Let victims know of all legal remedies. • Provide all information in writing if possible. • Even if victims refuse to cooperate with police or other service providers, use every encounter to provide information on the law and available services.
Legal Advocacy • For many populations, law enforcement may be seen as “the enemy.” • Victims may have their own stereotypes about police. • State clearly that you are there to help. • Immigration victims may think police and Immigration are the same or will deport them. • One insensitive reaction may deter the victim from seeking services or pursuing justice.
Jose Juan Lara, Jr., M.A.Director of Advocacy & TrainingTexas Advocacy Project, Inc.email@example.com To request a training:
Web Resources The National Latino Fatherhood and Family Institute http://www.nlffi.org/ National Latino Alliance for the Elimination of Domestic Violence http://www.dvalianza.org/ UNA VIDA SIN VIOLENCIA ES UN DERECHO NUESTROCAMPAÑA DE LAS AGENCIAS DE LAS NACIONES UNIDAS EN LATINOAMERICA Y EL CARIBE POR LOS DERECHOS HUMANOS DE LA MUJER http://www.undp.org/rblac/gender/campaign-spanish/index.html Machos Sensitivos http://www.samcranford.com/machos/index.html
Web Resources Men’s Nonviolence Project http://www.mensnonviolence.org/1/Home.html Men’s Resource Center of South Texas http://www.mrcofsouthtexas.org/ Children’s Book Press http://www.childrensbookpress.org/ob/fp.html
Reference Katz, J., (2006). The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help. Naperville, Il: Sourcebooks, Inc. Kimmel, M. S., (2000). The Gendered Society. New York, NY: Oxford University Press Machismo & Marianismo: Traditional Sex Roles. Retrieved May 3, 2007 from: http://www.nic.edu/englang/jelider/templates/machismo%20marianismo.htm
Resources Texas Association of Judiciary Interpreters & Translators www.tajit.org Catholic Charities www.catholiccharities.org YMCA of Greater Houston www.ymcahouston.org Saheli www.saheli-austin.org