It is a well supported fact that domestic and sexual violence cut across race, class, gender, age, sexuality and ability. We also know that marginalized groups are targeted for violence at disproportionate rates. Thus, it is not surprising that Native women are more than 2.5 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than other women in the US, or that 83% of women with disabilities are sexually assaulted in their lifetime. This month’s article focuses on another marginalized community: immigrant women who are being targeted for sexual and domestic violence. Click here to view the article.

The current anti-immigrant sentiment in the country has driven immigrants further and further into isolation. This is especially harmful for victims of sexual and domestic violence because it creates yet another vulnerability that perpetrators can use to their advantage.

The work of Primary Prevention is based on changing the climate around us that normalizes violence. To do this, Primary Prevention workers must identify root causes of violence (i.e., the social disparities that allow for violence to happen in the first place). Some root causes for violence that have been identified are sexism, racism, classism, ageism, homophobia and abelism. They have very concrete manifestations around us like strict gender roles, anti-immigrant sentiments, keeping people in permanent conditions of poverty by denying them access to education or healthcare, teaching young people that they don’t have a voice or a valid opinion, gay bashing and denying people with disabilities basic rights.

This article allows us to identify how these different social disparities collude to create vulnerable populations that become targets of violence. We see in the stories of these women that they are dealing with issues of classism, racism and sexism. When we hear about stories like these in our community our reaction can easily incline toward the immediate safety of the victims, but how do we support them when they say that “Nobody should be forced to give up their dignity in order to feed their family”? What are some things that we can do to truly prevent this sexual and domestic violence from happening again? What Prevention models are out there to help us strategically deal with this issue? What kind of world do have to co-create and with whom?