Violence Against Women and Asylum Seeking: Global Problems and Local Practices Applied to Guatemalan Women Immigrating for Safety

Roselyn Costantino, Karen Smith Rotabi, Debra H. Rodman

Abstract


This paper, based on broader discussions surrounding gender violence and immigration in the U.S., provides critical information on the historical context of extreme violence against women and femicide plaguing Central American societies today. Drawing on experiences of precedent setting cases of Guatemalan women, the authors offer suggestions for culturally specific treatment of and support for women who seek asylum in the U.S. out of justified fear for their and their family members’ lives should they return to their country of origin. The arguments presented are predicated on the belief that women worldwide share experiences of myriad forms of male domination and gender inequality which, however, play out differently on their bodies and lives in ways that must be accounted for in our attempt to offer them appropriate care and assist them in creating the tools they need to change their circumstances.

Keywords


Guatemala, femicide, violence against women, asylum, social work practice, immigration, battered women, PTSD, gender violence, trauma, interpersonal violence

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