Cultivating Care: Understanding Intimate Partner Violence Experiences of Undocumented Latinas in Washington State
Valdovinos, Miriam Georgina
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Researchers have acknowledged the deleterious effects of intimate partner violence (IPV) and have incorporated findings into prevention and intervention practices, but research with Latina/o immigrant communities remains limited. By combining Chicana feminist theory and intersectionality frameworks to existing IPV survivorship models, this study explores contextual factors impacting IPV experiences in Latina/o communities. This study investigated the immigration context impacts on IPV experiences for 20 Latina immigrants living in western Washington State. It also explored survivor strengths and hopes to imagine futures without violence. Culturally-relevant testimonio methodology was used to qualitatively investigate the complexity of IPV and how immigration status, ethnicity, class, gender, and informal/formal social supports impacted the experience. One-on-one testimonio interviews were conducted on two different time points with each of the interviewees. Thematic and narrative analyses revealed racialized, gendered, classed, and nativist injustices Latina immigrants experienced along with healing, empowerment, and advocacy when seeking social support. Seeking support from informal and formal social support systems as undocumented individuals meant they encountered barriers attached to their immigration status. Latina immigrant women’s cultural experiences of IPV were mediated through structural forms of oppression, such as racism and economic exploitation especially when they interacted with formal social support systems. Findings informed social work practice regarding identity intersectionalities that increase IPV vulnerabilities for undocumented women and contribute to culturally-responsive interventions.