B was a bright, young migrant teenager who met an American classmate as a high school freshman. Having escaped the horrors in her homeland, having an object of desire return her affections was like a fairytale. Early signs of emotional abuse by her boyfriend went unnoticed. Surely, everyone has bad days and everyone loses their tempers sometimes, right? B stayed true to her beau and found herself engaged shortly thereafter. The emotional abuse shifted into gas-lighting. A few years later, B found herself married to her boyfriend, and the emotional abuse escalated into frequent physical abuse.
Currently, foreign-born individuals make up 12.6% of the U.S. population, emphasizing a need to make cross cultural awareness and culturally sensitive care a national health initiative. The data representing migrants who experience intimate (IPV) and teen dating violence (TDV) is severely lacking. Even at the minimum, in a survey of 24,000 women from 10 countries throughout the world, the World Health Organization (WHO) found that physical or sexual violence by an intimate male partner in a lifetime occurred at an average of 43 percent. Data on male-identifying migrants suffering at the hands of TDV or IPV is uneven. Socio-economic backgrounds, social isolation, and immigration issues further compound reporting and prevention.
We closed B.’s case last month. She is safe now.
This issue impacts everyone, not just the survivors, but their parents, teachers, friends, and communities as well. Together, we can identify what constitutes as intimate partner violence, and promote safe, healthy relationships.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
For Teens: The Idaho Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence’s Center for Healthy Teen Relationships, That’s Not Cool Ambassador Program, Preventing and Responding to Teen Dating Violence, Runaway & Homeless Youth and Relationship Violence. Dallas-based orgs such as
Talk to Teens: Normalize talking with teens about warning signs, healthy boundaries, types of violence (it’s not just physical), access to educational resources, and discussing unhealthy portrayals in media where something like stalking is presented as romantic or harmless when it is actually very dangerous.
Know how to get help: If you know of a teen or parent that could benefit from speaking to a caring, well-trained peer advocate, please connect them with the National Dating Abuse Helpline, a project of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, at 1-866-331-9474 (TTY: 1-866-331-8453), by texting “loveis” to 77054, or through live chat at loveisrespect.org.
For more information, please visit the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Women. Together we can all do a little to prevent a major crisis in life of a teen.
#InternationalWomensMonth #IntimatePartnerViolence #TeenDatingViolenceAwareness #PreventTeenDatingViolence #ImmigrantRightsAreHumanRights