One University of Arkansas study shows Hispanic women – who are victims of domestic violence – are more likely to seek legal assistance compared to white women.
“The number one thing you hear is why don’t you leave?” Psychology Professor Dr. Ana Bridges said.
That’s exactly what Professor Ana Bridges wanted to find out.
“Things get bad enough and the cycle of abuse tends to get to a point where something needs to change,” Dr. Bridges said.
Her findings are Hispanic women – who are victims of domestic violence – use resources more often than Non-Hispanic white women.
“It was a surprise to me,” Dr. Bridges said. “I know there is a lot of mistrust within the legal system.”
Peace at Home Family shelter in Springdale says it’s hard for Hispanic women to come forward at first.
“They opt to stay with their partner and figure it out and fight for the unity of the family until they can’t anymore,” Lead Associate Maria Torres said. “That legal process makes it more formal and final.”
If an undocumented woman cooperates with law enforcement during the crime, she can remain in the country through a protected Visa.
“Now that she knows here she has legal options, her abuser being deported might be that safety net she needs,” Torres said.
Peace at Home say the results of the study shows the progress of the shelter’s outreach efforts.
“We are very culturally sensitive here,” Torres said. “That has been part of our plan to spread out the information in their language so that it is understandable and they know what services are available to them.”
But Torres says the fight is still alive for all women to break their silence.
“There is no excuse for abuse,” Torres said. “Everyone that comes through our doors goes through the same process and we use the same model for everybody.”
If you feel that you are in an abusive relationship, call the Peace At Home hotline at 877-442-9811.