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The Impact of Gender-Based Violence on Women of Color
February 8, 2017
We know that domestic violence and sexual assault can affect anyone, regardless of race, age, gender, religion or sexuality. Most Americans acknowledge the fact that women are more likely to be the victims of these types of violence, yet may not understand the impact of race on domestic violence and sexual assault.
There are circumstances and challenges that are specific to each community of color, but generally women of color tend to experience domestic violence and sexual assault at higher rates than the general population. They are also less likely to report and seek help and support for domestic violence and sexual assault. While the information on this subject could consume several blog posts, here are a few alarming statistics:
Despite experiencing higher rates of domestic violence and sexual assault, women of color are less likely to report their abuse and to seek help and support. Societal barriers can often prevent survivors from taking these steps, such as a lack of services in their community or a fear that the police will not take their report seriously. While these barriers can affect all survivors, women of color may face unique challenges and circumstances due to the intersectional oppression of both gender and race.
In addition to the societal barriers that all survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault can face, survivors of color may also face:
Cultural and/or religious beliefs that restrain the survivor from leaving the abusive relationship or involving outsiders.
Strong loyalty binds to race, culture and family.
Distrust of law enforcement, criminal justice system, and human services.
Lack of trust based on history of racism and classism in the United States.
Fear that their experience will reflect on or confirm the stereotypes placed on their ethnicity or race.