The International Violence Against Women Act of 2010 (I-VAWA) and Undocumented Immigrants in the United States – Nia Parson
On February 4, 2010, the US House of Representatives and Senate introduced the International Violence Against Women Act of 2010 (I-VAWA 2010; S. 2982 and H.R. 4594). Here, I raise the question of what the potential implications of the I-VAWA are for women in positions like Silvia (a pseudonym), whom I interviewed in my research on immigrant women’s experiences of domestic violence and help-seeking in the US. Silvia, who had migrated from Mexico to the US in the mid-1990s with a coyote in order to provide a better life for her family, told me:
I think that the simple fact of being in a new country is something very difficult…When I came here I started to work. Sometimes we didn’t have anything to eat. We didn’t have any clothes to wear. When I arrived here, I didn’t speak the language. I missed Mexico. And then I met this person who is the father of my children, and we started to go out. From the beginning there was abuse…I was trapped. I didn’t know what to do. I said ‘I love him. I love him.’ And everyone told me that he wasn’t a good person, that maybe he used drugs. Six years of abuse, of beatings passed by.