For too many immigrant women and girls, escaping from an abuser is not as simple as running away. Obstacles to help, such finding a shelter that accepts a woman who does not have work authorization, litter the road to safety.
Did you know that abuse rates in marriages between U.S. citizens and foreign-born women may be as much as three times higher than in general U.S. population?
Consider the problem “Meredith” faced when she couldn’t get into a federal courtroom for her own hearing because she didn’t have identification other than the notice requiring her to appear.
Tahirih Justice Center seeks to change this landscape for immigrant women and girls by conducting outreach and training for other charitable organizations, pro bono attorneys, and law enforcement agencies, among others. This public education scope of Tahirih’s mission is part of its holistic model of protecting immigrant women and girls from violence, complemented by direct services and public policy advocacy.
Immigrant women and girls face cultural obstacles that magnify the difficulty of fleeing violence. These include factors such as language barriers, cultural stigmas on reporting abuse, or not having work authorization to be able to support themselves. They often face the isolation of not having a support network of friends or family, are usually unaware of their rights, and may be threatened by their abuser with arrest or deportation if they speak out.
Moreover, immigrant women and girls are more vulnerable to violence in the first place, as studies show that abuse rates in marriages between US citizens and foreign-born women may be as much as three times higher than in the general US population.
Tahirih’s trainings have been a vital step toward ensuring that professionals that work on issues of gender-based violence and immigration are aware of the unique challenges faced by immigrant women and girls, as well as the rights and legal remedies available to them. In the last year, Tahirih has offered cultural sensitivity training for:
- Fort Meyer U.S. Army Base
- Virginia Attorney General’s Office
- Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services
- Winchester Council Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse
Continuing to build on these successful partnerships, Tahirih will offer a cultural competency training in August in Williamsburg, Va., organized by the York County Violence Against Women Task Force.
The values that guide Tahirih’s work are cooperative rather than competitive. In this spirit, Tahirih actively engages in sharing its resources and organizational knowledge so that more women and girls may feel safe seeking help in order to realize the protection available to them.