Working with Specific Populations

Working at the intersections of violence against women in Latin@ communities requires intentionality and a deep understanding of the lived realities of Latin@s in their cultural context. This section of the special collection focuses on subgroups within Latin@ communities with the purpose of highlighting specific strategies and approaches when responding to violence.

Acknowledging that survivors’ lives are complex as a starting point in our analysis, as well as the multiple dimensions of their identities, are critical steps towards achieving social justice for ALL. As stated by Gloria Anzaldúa, Living on borders and in margins, keeping intact one's shifting and multiple identity and integrity, is like trying to swim in a new element, an "alien" element.

In the spirit of honoring these complexities, the sections that follow explore some of the dimensions that could make up the identities of Latin@ survivors and their allies.

Working with men to end violence against women
In the last decade, engaging men as allies to end violence against women has become an important component of almost any prevention strategy around the world. In recognition of this, Casa de Esperanza has developed a toolkit with various resources for Latino men who want to be involved in this effort, both individually and as community organizers. The toolkit includes original materials to create a local awareness campaign, as well as a curated collection of key resources from other organizations who have been engaging Latino men both in the US and in Latin America.

Latin@ Youth as Agents of Change
Young people are some of our most powerful agents of change in domestic violence prevention and intervention. Youth and young adults often straddle the line between childhood and adulthood with tremendous resiliency and tenacity. As many young people begin to explore what having a relationship means, they want to learn about healthy relationships and engage in preventing and ending domestic violence and sexual assault. This section of the collection includes tools to effectively engage Latin@ youth in responding to teen dating violence that includes prevention and intervention strategies from culturally specific perspectives.

Latin@ Older Adult Survivors
Latin@ seniors currently represent 7% of the U.S. older adult population, and by the year 2050, they will make up 20% of the nation’s older adults (Administration on Aging, 2010). Latin@ seniors are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. aging population. Although Latin@ older adults live about 2 and a half years more than non-Latin@ white seniors, they don’t necessarily live better. They face several barriers that impact important aspects of their lives, including: lack of food and economic security, lack of access to quality health care, and challenges related to educational attainment. These barriers and certain other factors heighten their risk to experience elder abuse.

latina3.png

Latin@ LGBTQ Individuals
The intersection of violence in Latin@ LGBTQ communities is a topic rarely addressed. There are multiple layers of oppression affecting Latin@ LGBTQ survivors of intimate partner violence and seeking help or support can prove extremely challenging for these individuals. Issues related to internalized homophobia, societal barriers including subtle or blatant discrimination by service providers, law enforcement and others add to the challenges experienced by Latin@ survivors in same sex relationships. Additionally, immigration laws and anti-immigrant sentiments as well as language access issues provide additional challenges to this already complex dynamic. Regarding Latin@s in particular, there are many cultural aspects that often play an important role in the decisions to report intimate partner violence or whether to leave or remain in an abusive relationship. The key role that family plays as part of the identity of many Latin@s is a cultural value that, although celebrated, at times can have a serious impact on the decision to disclose one’s sexual orientation. Religion and/or spirituality also play a critical role and many individuals have to weigh much more than the violence alone before deciding to come forward. The impact of gender role expectations and their close connection to cultural traditions adds, in many cases, an additional layer of challenges for Latin@ LGBTQ survivors. While there are many useful tools that raise awareness about IPV in the LGBTQ community, the majority to date do not include a cultural analysis when discussing this issue.