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Domestic Violence Against Black Women

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault,
battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic
pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It
includes physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence, and emotional
Women of Color
Domestic Violence (DV)
occurs among all
race/ethnicities and
socio-economic classes.
For women of color, high
rates of poverty, poor
education, limited job
resources, language
barriers, and fear of
deportation increase their
difficulty finding help and
support services.
Although there are some
unique circumstances in
certain communities of
color, there are common
factors and
considerations exist
which may account for
under-reporting of DV by
women of color.

A strong personal
based on familial
elements, and
cultural identity
(e.g., role as wife,
mother, and
Religious beliefs
that reinforce the

victimization and
legitimizes the
abusers behavior
A strong loyalty to
both immediate
and extended
family, as well as
loyalty to race and
culture (the yoke
of silence)
Fear of rejection
from family,
congregation, and
For immigrant and
women, in
particular, a fear or
threat of
deportation or
separation from

The African American

African American women
(women of color) live in
the dangerous
intersection of gender
and race.
African American females
experience intimate
partner violence at a rate
35% higher than that of
white females, and about
2.5 times the rate of

women of other races.

However, they are less
likely than white women
to use social services,
battered womens
programs, or go to the
hospital because of
domestic violence.
As a result of historical
and present day racism,
African American women
may be less likely to
report her abuser or seek
help because of
discrimination, African
American mens
vulnerability to police
brutality, and negative
stereotyping. Myths that
African American women
are domineering figures
that require control or
that African American
women are exceptionally
strong under stress and
are resilient increase
their vulnerability and
discourage some from
speaking out about
Statistics show that
African American women
typically comprise about
70% of black
congregations. Religious
convictions and a fear of
shame or rejection from

the church may

contribute to their
remaining in an abusive

The Black Community

Culturally and historically,

African American women
have been looked to as
the protectors of their
family and community.
Some women may feel
because of their religious
beliefs they must impart
forgiveness for their
abusers behavior and
endure the abuse due to
religious obligations
under Christian doctrine.

A key contributor to the

high domestic homicide
rates in the African
American community is
the negative relationship
between them and the
criminal justice system.
The historical record of
how African Americans
have been treated in the
United States by the
judicial system is a
paramount problem when

dealing with domestic

violence in the African
American community.
Violence done to people
of color is permitted! The
most allowed form of
violence in communities
of color is that against
women of color, by men
of color (or by white men)
with whom the women of
color are in relationships.
Domestic violence rates
have been found to be
higher for African
American families than
for any other racial