Intimate Partner Violence: Contextual Vulnerability, Risks and Resilience of South Asian Immigrant Women
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As a universal issue that affects all nationalities and ethnicities, Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is a subject of extensive research among couples (Pajak, Ahmad, Jenny, Fisher & Chan, 2014). However, research attending to immigrant populations is inadequately limited, which consequently prevents mental health professionals from receiving the necessary education to effectively support this population. Culturally competent mental health professionals are essential in this field, especially for South Asian immigrant women who experience multiple layers of oppression and yet, have one of the highest rates for underutilizing mental health resources for fear of being judged or misunderstood (Yoshioka, Gilbert, El-Bassel & Baig-Amin, 2003). The purpose of this literature review is to explore the contextual challenges that increase South Asian immigrant women’s vulnerability to IPV including patriarchy, culture, and acculturation, and to determine the most common strategies women use to cultivate their resilience. Findings revealed that the most helpful coping strategies include spirituality, social support, strength for children, and personal attributes. The findings from this review provide practical information about cultural competence in supporting this population and the issue of IPV.