Thursday, April 8, 2010

Domestic Abuse - The Forgotten Ones - Part 1

I would like to reflect about two social groups who we often forget as possible victims of domestic abuse. The first one that I would like to share with you is about the immigrant women who come to our western society to start a new life.

For many of these women, they are sponsored by their husbands or boyfriends. Just imagine the scene. Here a women gets off a plane in a foreign country with her young children. Her new home and neighbourhood awaits her. She doesn't understand the language, the customs nor know her rights. She has little education and knows that she will have to face re- training in order to get a some what decent job, but for now she lives at home with her husband and is busy trying to get her children to adapt to the new school and their new life. The husband has a job and is out everyday working.

What we don't know is that the kind hearted, much respected at work husband, is an abuser. He does come home and when he is in a bad mood, he beats his wife and threatens her by saying that he will send her back to her country without the children if she doesn't do as he says.

This women is now living in FEAR just like western society women who are victims of domestic abuse. But for her, she believes her husband will send her back and keep the children with him. She cant' speak out language, she can't communicate very well with her neighbours, she doesn't
understand what 911 means or is feeling insecure about what the police represent to her in our society. In her country she was always fearful of authority as the police roamed the streets with machine guns.

What this women does not know is that our laws in Quebec ( and I hope elsewhere in North America) will not allow an immigrant women who is a victim of domestic abuse to be deported back to her country. If anything they will be given the support and the aggressor will be dealt with. We have seen much too often women being murdered who have not been in our country for very long. Only two years ago, an immigrant women who had a young baby was found dead in her apartment on Christmas day. The suspect still at large was her husband.

If you know an immigrant women, don't be shy to befriend her and let her know that she has as much rights as any North American women. Give her some useful information as to who she could contact if she needed help. In most communities there are organizations of different faiths and nationalities that could be a support to a new immigrant.

Many women who come from countries where their culture teaches them to be submissive to their husbands does not work in our country. Yes, there are submissive women by choice, not by culture and it is this that these women need to understand that here we do not have to accept abuse in any language.

Here is a link to information booklets available through the Department of Justice Canada government that are in many languages. They are free of charge and you can download them. There is also other useful information on this site. Knowing that this information is available to us may just be what we need to help a women who feels alone and isolated in her new country.

It just may save her life.

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