By Scott Theis, Managing Editor
Roughly 75 people, mostly students, were in the SSB Auditorium on Feb. 27 for ‘Intimate Partner Violence in Immigrant Communities’, part of this year’s Global Days series. Roselyne Hazard, a Multilingual Adult and Children’s Therapist and representative of ALIVE (Alternatives to Living in Violent Environments), was the event’s presenter. ALIVE is a local St. Louis organization dedicated to helping women and children affected by domestic violence along with trying to increase awareness about the issue. Hazard spoke for roughly an hour about this women’s health issue with some focus put on the specific challenges faced by the immigrant community.
The crowd listened to Hazard as she started off with what constitutes an abusive relationship. While most people may think of abuse as physical, she was careful to note the potentially traumatic effects of emotional and psychological abuse as well. After defining the subject, she took us through potential red flags to look out for among those suspected of being abused and those who may be abusive. This was followed by challenges faced by those leaving an abusive relationship including loss of “home, income, job, health insurance, immigration status and faith community.” Finally, the presentation ended with the safest ways to leave an abusive partner and the resources available to those who do.
Some of the specific challenges that face the immigrant community when it comes to this issue include language and cultural barriers, depression/PTSD (of refugees from war torn countries), fear of authority figures and fear of deportation. Hazard seemed uniquely suited to talk about this from an immigrant’s point of view as she is an immigrant herself. She made sure it came across that even those who are in the country legally share some of these fears when it comes to intimate partner violence. The presentation also covered the potential legal avenues open solely to immigrants of varying legal status like applying for a VAWA application or U-Visa. For more information on those visit the US Dept of Immigration website.
The event was full of useful information for anyone in an abusive relationship or those whose loved ones may be in one. Anyone looking for more information on ALIVE can visit their website.