Help-seeking behavior among Mexican immigrant and Mexican American female victims of intimate partner violence and the relationship of acculturation to the incidence of domestic violence in Memphis, Tennessee -- Collins, Maria Helena Vanderlei, Ed.D.
Domestic violence against women is an oppressive condition extended across race, class, and gender in the United States (Sokoloff, & Pratt 2005; U.S. Department of Justice, 2004). Athena's (2000) discussion the English Common Law of 1967 in the context of wife abuse was supported by Stedman's (1917) statement that, "by the old common law rule the husband had the right to inflict moderate personal chastisement on his wife, provided that he used, as some of his domestic authorities stated it, a switch no longer than his thumb" (p. 1). This study examined the help-seeking behavior of women of Hispanic origin who have been in situations of domestic violence. In particular, it is focused on the perceptions of Mexican immigrant and Mexican American women regarding the social services available to them (Tiefenthaler, Farmer, & Sambira, 2005). It also explored how this help-seeking behavior is affected by their degree of acculturation and the incidence of intimate partner violence. I wanted to understand whether a difference existed between these two similar ethnic groups. I reviewed their differences in perception about their situation, as well as their awareness of the quality of social services available to them. The participants in this study were 10 Mexican immigrant and 7 Mexican American women who were living in Memphis, Tennessee when the research was conducted. In order to investigate the phenomena, mixed methods were used. The quantitative instruments selected were ARSMA-II (Cu?llar & Maldonado,1995), the Inventory of Abusive Behavior (Shepard & Campbell, 1992), and a customized demographic questionnaire. The qualitative data were collected through a semi-structured interview. Descriptive data and t-tests were reported for the quantitative data, and constant comparative analysis (Glaser, 1965) supported the interpretation of the qualitative data. I report the challenges that women of Hispanic origin had while seeking help from social service providers and the relationship between acculturation and incidence of intimate partner violence. Recommendations to improve the quality of services that this population receives, as well as suggestions for future research, are provided.
Key words. intimate partner violence, Mexican American women, Mexican immigrant women, social service providers, degree of acculturation, Tennessee .