mmigrant women are disproportionately represented among female abuse victims in Canada. This research paper will demonstrate how immigrant women’s cultures, contexts, and legal status increases vulnerability to abuse, creates barriers for women to seek assistance, and is used by perpetrators to control and abuse immigrant women. In order to do so lit is important to recognize different forms of partner abuse and of the destructive effects of racism and discrimination toward immigrant women in Canada.
This paper approaches the topic of violence against immigrant women from an “intersectional feminist framework”(Erez et al. ) because acknowledging the racial and class identity of women is critical. I hypothesize that social categories influence whether the women will disclose the abuse, how they struggle against it, and the choices and options available to eliminate it. My motivation for this research was an interest in increasing my understanding of the experiences of Immigrant women because I also belong to an immigrant family. Looking further, one must recognize that violence exists in every culture. There cannot be an assumption that violence is only accepted in certain racialized and immigrant communities.
This is evident from the results of the national study of Canada, which shows that “nearly one out of three Canadian women have experienced violence by a current or former husband”(Brownridge & Halli 455). There are differences within cultures and locations but it is essentially the same. Immigrant women have been socialized into a certain role, the same as white or middle-class women have been. Therefore, we cannot homogenize people within certain cultures as more deviant or oppressive. However, the vulnerability of immigrant women is heightened by social factors that affect the protection these women receive from the state.
Therefore, while gender is often the key focus when addressing violence, social factors like race, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, and immigrant status further increases the risk of abuse. According to Brownridge and Halli, it is reasonable to argue that immigrant women are in a situation of double jeopardy. This means that immigrant women are oppressed at multiple levels of identities such as race and immigrant status. This paper will discuss the specific causes of violence among immigrant women in Canada. In addition, it will highlight the barriers these women face in getting out of abusive elationships and accessing services.
The purpose of this study is to research the violence experienced by immigrant women in Canada and also to critique the Canadian nation-state itself. Theoretical Framework This research will be using an “intersectional feminist framework”(Erez et al. 34) to look at immigrant women’s experiences in Canada. This framework examines migrant worker’s lives by looking at historical links among colonialism, nation formation, and immigration policies. This approach understands racism, sexism, and discrimination as being imbedded within immigration policies.
The intersectional eminist framework developed because research tends to look at gender categories as homogenous without realizing that one may be privileged in some ways and oppressed in others. Moreover, this framework also challenges the assumption that people fall into two binary categories which show that realities are much more multifaceted. Scholars such as Bbell Hhooks and Patricia Collins “have struggled theoretically to give primacy to the “insider” as the knower, while at the same time disputing the significance of the physical body”(Agnew 6). Furthermore, Stuart Hall argues that we all have multiple identities.
He uggests the need to be self reflective and to reveal relevant aspects of our identity (Agnew 7). This intersectional framework emphasizes how social categories creates different experiences. It looks at how socially constructed categories like race, religion, language, immigrant status, and sexuality impact the ability to access resources like jobs and housing. Lastly, this framework is rooted in feminism but can also be useful to look at men’s experiences. However, it is important to focus on women because “within every group with less economic power and status, women within that group have even less economic ower and status”(Agnew 18).
Therefore, the intersectional feminist framework is a way of thinking about power;, who is excluded, and who has access to resources. The term, ” Immigrant women” came into popular usage in the 1980’s. “This term referred to non-English speaking, working- class women from southern Europe and the Third World” (Agnew 9). This term is problematic because it refers to immigrants as being outsiders to what is defined as “Canadian”. Violence against immigrant women is maintained by cultures and laws that push towards a patriarchal culture, where men ominate the power hierarchy. This gives men control over their wives, children, and the home.
Male partner violence can be defined as, “acts of physical assault, psychological aggression, verbal abuse, and sexual coercion perpetrated by a women’s marital or common-law partner” (Brownridge & Halli 459). Critical Analysis of Literature The literature collected for this study is restricted/limited to what is published in English and so it does not represent all available documents on this topic. However, for future research it would be beneficial to look at literature in various languages ecause many immigrant women struggle with language barriers. Thus, they are not able to explain their ‘lived experiences’ through the English language.
Furthermore, only those books and articles published since 2000 were included in this research paper because I required up to date information on this research topic. In terms of the content of the literature, the chosen literature used qualitative methods of inquiry and analysis. One exception to this is the work of Brownridge and Halli. It was noticed that the quantitative method was less useful than using qualitative research when discussing a topic about he abuse that immigrant women suffered from. For this topic, it was essential to learn about the lived experiences of these women which was not possible through the quantitative method.
However, the statistics that were in the article did strengthen my research and was used as a source of evidence. Women’s immigration status also increases their vulnerability to abuse. Raj and Silverman state that there is a hierarchy of immigrant status, and that “women’s place in this hierarchy relates to their vulnerability to abuse” (Raj & Silverman 371). They state that women come to the United States with ignificant disadvantage in social status and resources compared to their male partners which provides batterers with additional power over their spouses. For undocumented immigrant women, deportation is a constant threat that batterers can use against them” ( Raj & Silverman 371).
The scholars Erez et al. state that “U. S immigration law endangers battered immigrant women by giving near total control over the women’s legal status to the sponsoring spouses, replicating the doctrine of coverture” ( Erez et al 36). They state that this legal dependency intensifies gendered inequality which creates new ays for men to abuse and control their partners and entraps battered women (Erez et al 36). he marginalized groups in society. Thus, immigrant women are less willing to respect and trust the police due to their experiences with them in Canada and in their country of origin. According to the scholars, Waccholz and Miedema, many immigrant women believed that police intervention “created and recreated the dynamics that were part of abusive relationships like; social isolation, unequal power dynamics, control and surveillance, and low self- esteem”(Waccholz & Miedema 3).