Met Fundraising Goal
January 06, 2017
There is relatively little data about the incidence of domestic violence among Arab Communities in the United States. However, according to the Asian & Pacific Islander institute on Domestic Violence, of the 1,962 women surveyed, 82% reported that they experienced emotional or verbal abuse. Financial abuse was reported by 65% of the women. An alarming 74% reported physical abuse. Another 30% reported sexual abuse.
The Arab American Community Center views healthy families as a key ingredient in developing strong citizens. One of our most active services is that of domestic violence. Combating gender-based violence is an important program for refugees. In Muslim communities, domestic violence is viewed as a private matter vs. in the United States where these matters can be handled using the legal system.
A recent AACC client reported this culture clash in her family when they moved to the United States. She was well educated and enjoyed an active social life in her home country. Soon after moving to the United States, her husband forbid her to work, drive or socialize. This lead to great conflict in the marriage. The first incidence of physical abuse was reported when she was 35 weeks pregnant with her first child.
Through the help of AACC, the client left her abusive husband after filing an injunction against him. However, family and cultural pressure lead her to return to her husband. Though her parents can financially help her to make a life separate from her husband, the client fears that her husband will take her children from her permanently if she files for divorce.
The injunction lead to a domestic violence charge for her husband. He is currently on probation for the charge and must see his parole officer weekly. This is a constant source of stress in the client’s marriage but the physical abuse has ended since the injunction was filed. AACC continues to help her navigate the legal system and counsel the client on caring for herself and her family in the midst of a difficult marriage.