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Immigration, Domestic Violence, and the Military

NCJ Number
Violence Against Women Volume: 9 Issue: 9 Dated: September 2003 Pages: 1093-1117
Date Published
September 2003
25 pages

This article discusses abuse among immigrant women married or engaged to United States servicemen.


The plight of immigrant women abused by intimate partners or husbands has begun to be addressed in research and policy. No studies have focused on a special group of battered immigrant women--military brides. This study presents data on the abuse experiences and appeals for support services and justice of 10 battered immigrant military wives or intimate partners. In-depth interviews with the women were conducted, themes were identified, and the intersectionality of immigration status and military spouse or intimate partner status in the lives of these women was explored. The results indicate that cultural aspects and core values of the military, such as unit cohesion, military readiness, honor, duty, and service, are embedded in abuse of immigrant partners and in the military community’s response. Military culture routinely places organizational needs above the well being of military spouses, trivializing the abuse, as victims/survivors are pressured to forgive and forget. Immigration circumstances and status interact with the military context to compound the abuse, further marginalize victims/survivors, and weaken the military social service and legal systems’ response. A larger representative sample would be necessary to draw more conclusive statements. The findings may help the military in addressing domestic violence among its ranks. 10 notes, 33 references

Date Published: September 1, 2003