As part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, dozens of domestic violence shelters in heavily Hispanic areas across the U.S. are receiving an influx of badly-needed cash during the current economic downturn. The cash infusion is coming from the foundation started by the late Mary Kay Ash. Shelters helping battered women in all 50 states are receiving a total of $3 million from the Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundation’s (MKACF) annual grants.
Domestic violence statistics seem to be consistent across racial and ethnic groups, according to the National Latino Alliance for the Elimination of Domestic Violence. However, the need for extra funding appears great in Hispanic areas because, according to the Alliance, “Several factors, including discrimination and lack of bilingual/bicultural staff, have led to an underutilization of shelters and other domestic violence services by Latinas/os affected by domestic violence.”
The Violence Against Women Act, first passed by Congress in 1994 and renewed in 2000 and 2005, removed obstacles that prevent immigrant victims from safely fleeing domestic violence, easing the way for the families of work-visa holders to seek help without fear of deportation. Yet, a study conducted by the Texas Council on Family Violence identified fear of the threat of deportation — resulting in separation from the victim’s children — as a major reason some battered Latina women do not seek help.
Screenshot From Mary Kay.