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Domestic abuse can profoundly impact immigrants

Being a victim of domestic violence is rough. Many victims don’t feel like they have anywhere to turn. Some might feel ashamed. For people who are immigrants, these feelings might be enhanced. They might fear for what will happen to them if they file complaints about the domestic violence. They might worry about whether they will be allowed to remain in the country. Our readers in Texas might be interested to learn about some of the struggles immigrants who are victims of domestic violence face.

One interesting point to remember is that some immigrants are dependent upon their spouse to remain in the country. As a way to control the immigrant, the spouse might refuse to sign papers or help the immigrant to do what he or she needs to do to remain in the country. This is considered manipulation.

In some cases, the spouse might use intimidation, such as destroying or withholding resident cards, passports and other legal documents. They might also use economic abuse by having the immigrant fired by falsely reporting the immigrant is in the country illegally. In some cases, they might try to keep the immigrant isolated by stopping them from learning English. Threats and physical attacks are also possible.

No matter which of these is true, or even if more than one of these are true, the victim has rights. Seeking help from someone who is familiar with domestic violence cases is one of the first things you can do to help protect yourself. Once you are safe, you work toward building a new life in the country you love.

Source: The National Domestic Violence Hotline, “Abuse & Immigrants” accessed Feb. 06, 2015

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