By July 20th, I will have spent 65 hours of my summer learning about and discussing domestic violence and sexual assault (yeah this isn’t an uplifting post, but sadly these are things that happen to about one in four women in the U.S. and therefore topics that need to be addressed). These sessions are part of a required training to volunteer/work for an organization in Los Angeles called the Center for Pacific American Families (CPAF) which provides services mainly to immigrant women and their children. The dates of the training happened to coincide with the weeks that I’m here before I head to Hawaii for all of August. Since I didn’t seek out any job or internship for these short six weeks of my L.A. summer, I figured it would be a worthwhile way to spend my time.
Some facts and statistics:
- As many as 1/3 of all relationships experience partner abuse
- One in four women in the United States are affected by sexual assault, including harassment, child abuse, and rape
- Domestic violence is often cyclical, both within a given relationship (often escalating over time) as well as intergenerationally
- Immigrants (mainly women and children) are less likely to seek and receive support for domestic violence and sexual assault due to many reasons including cultural and language barriers, immigration status, and community isolation
- The roots of gender violence are power and control