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Voicing the Silent Fear: South Asian Women's Experiences of Domestic Violence

NCJ Number
Howard Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 43 Issue: 5 Dated: December 2004 Pages: 465-483
Aisha Gill
Date Published
December 2004
Based on in-depth interviews with 18 South Asian women residing in the United Kingdom who had experienced domestic violence, this study examined various aspects of their victimization.
All of the women came to the United Kingdom from areas of the Indian subcontinent and were living in East London at the time of the interview. All had been either past or current victims of domestic violence while living in the United Kingdom, although the type and severity of their abuse varied significantly. Their victimization experiences included psychological abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and economic abuse. Fourteen of the women described their marriages as arranged, and the other four women described them as "forced." All of the women identified their husbands as the main perpetrators of abuse. Other perpetrators included nine mothers-in-law and one natal father. All of the women reported that in the Asian community, men are considered superior to women and are justified in occasionally slapping women under certain circumstances. Sixteen of the women were too embarrassed about the abuse to talk to family and friends about it, and only 6 women sought support services from community agencies. The analysis of interview data suggests that the women were unfamiliar with their host country's views of and official policies toward domestic violence, as well as the community services available to help them cope with the abuse. Agencies which deal with such victims must increase their knowledge about and outreach toward Asian women. 16 notes and 44 references