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

  • Roselyn Costantino The Pennsylvania State University Altoona College
  • Karen Smith Rotabi Virginia Commonwealth University School of Social Work
  • Debra H. Rodman Randolph-Macon College, Department of Sociology and AnthropologyRandolph-Macon College, Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Keywords: Guatemala, femicide, violence against women, asylum, social work practice, immigration, battered women, PTSD, gender violence, trauma, interpersonal violence

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.

Author Biographies

Roselyn Costantino, The Pennsylvania State University Altoona College
Roselyn Costantino is Associate Professor of Spanish and Women's Studies at The Pennsylvania State University Altoona College. She recently completed a Fulbright in Guatemala focused on violence against women.
Karen Smith Rotabi, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Social Work
Karen Smith Rotabi is Assistant Professor of Social Work at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her research focus is on families impacted by war and global social work practice.
Debra H. Rodman, Randolph-Macon College, Department of Sociology and AnthropologyRandolph-Macon College, Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Debra Rodman is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Randolph Macon College. Her focus is on gender and immigration patterns.
Published
2012-05-31