Intimate Partner Violence among West African Immigrants

Adeyinka M Akinsulure-Smith, Tracy Chu, Eva Keatley, Andrew Rasmussen
Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma 2013, 22 (1): 109-129
Although the number of African immigrants arriving to the United States has increased significantly, there has been little investigation regarding their experiences of intimate partner violence or coping strategies. This study used focus groups and individual interviews to explore intimate partner violence among 32 heterosexual West African immigrants. Results suggest that although cultural expectations influence their coping strategies, West African-born men and women face different realities, with women reporting multiple instances of abuse and a sense of frustration with the existing options for assistance. Although participants discussed multilevel support structures within the immediate West African community to address intimate partner violence, all of these options maintained a gender hierarchy, leaving women dissatisfied. Challenges and barriers to partner violence resolution and coping strategies are identified. Results are examined in terms of their implications for addressing the needs of this underserved population. Implications for future research and services are discussed and highlighted.

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