Multilevel Barriers in Seeking Help for Trauma from Intimate Partner Sexual Violence Experienced by South Asian Immigrant Women

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Heer, Barna
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Intimate partner sexual violence is a global issue upheld by various social and political structures and leaves survivors with significant mental, physical, and emotional challenges. These challenges are both immediate and long lasting. The risk in these challenges increases when we consider marginalized populations such as South Asian immigrant women. Despite the heightened risk and high statistics of intimate sexual violence in this community, there are low numbers of these individuals seeking out help. Recognizing the seriousness of the risks at hand, such as death, injury, and long-lasting physical and mental health concerns, it is crucial to explore why South Asian immigrant women do not reach out. This review explored the multilayered barriers at play that contribute to delayed help-seeking after experiencing intimate partner sexual violence. This critical review involves an analysis of 10 key studies to outline what these barriers are. An examination of the studies revealed the existence of barriers across multiple domains which include lack of knowledge regarding sexual health, negative experiences in disclosing abuse, power imbalances within the family, simultaneous experiences of other abuse, revictimization while navigating resources, migratory issues, linguistic challenges, oppressive systems (racism, misogyny, patriarchy), and cumulative trauma through revictimization. It is recommended that clinicians working with this population utilize a trauma informed and intersectional feminist lens to appropriately support this community.
South Asian immigrant women , intimate partner sexual violence , help-seeking
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States , openAccess