things that matter

New Study Shows Central American Women Escaping Violence Experience More Trauma After Seeking Asylum

@pritheworld

A recently released report shows the reality of why many woman from Central American countries are fleeing. The data outlines a rising number of women are trying to escape sexual and domestic violence in their home countries. Conducted with researchers from St. Edwards University and Casa de Esperanza, a federal resource center for Latinas and Latin@ communities to end domestic violence, the report provides evidence on why women are facing these circumstances and what can be done to help.

In the last decade there has been an increase in the arrival of Latina immigrant women and their children from primarily Central American Countries.

The report shows that many women’s motivations to migrate and experiences during migration are often tied to violence, whether it be sexual or domestic. The majority have come from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras which are among the most dangerous places in the world for females.

They are also home to some of the world’s highest murder rates, that includes for women and young girls. Making matters worse is there are few consequences for perpetrators in those areas.

Dr. Laurie Cook, an assistant professor and social researcher at St. Edward’s University, interviewed hundreds of women after they were detained by immigration authorities for the report. Cook says these women are fleeing for many reasons but a majority is due to increasing violence in their home countries.

“Women are seeing more violence, whether it be domestic or sexual. We’ve heard from women that gang violence in the streets might be used against them by their own partners,” Cook said. “These issues go back a long time and for many, migration is only option they may have to survive. This violence is being used to control people.”

Many of these women and children know the risks that come with migrating. But they are left with little alternatives back home.

Many women know the dangers that lie ahead when attempting to migrate from Central America to the United States. There are countless stories and reports of sexual violence in caravan groups, yet that risk is worth escaping their lives back home.

“We hear from women they know the danger they face and its a known risk,” Cook said. “Migrating is the only choice, they know the risk of sexual violence, trafficking, those are possible risks so they still do it. there is no alternative.”

Even when some do reach the U.S. and seek asylum, the violence doesn’t end there.

In the last two years, the U.S .government apprehended more than 150,000 immigrant family units, primarily Central American women traveling with their children, according to the report. This huge influx has spiked the number of people being detained and kept in detention centers along the Southern U.S. border.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is currently detaining more than 50,000 immigrants at any given time. While the majority of detainees are men, the percentage of asylum-seeking women and girls, is rising.

According to Cook, the conditions and traumatic effects of detaining immigrants can damage mental health and cause post-traumatic stress. These effects can last years and even cause a lifetime of mental issues.

“Short or long term detention leaves a mark on their lives. The longer in detention means longer impact,” Cook said. “These places are clearly not a shelter, they’re more of a jail for families.”

The conditions in detention centers are alarming as many women have reported being sexually abused while being held. Cook notes there is relatively little accountability when it comes to these cases being reported which speaks to the overall culture and system within detention centers.

“Women movement is very restrictive and we hear reports of poor quality food and lack of services to legal help which leads to inconsistencies with what they’re being told,” Cook said. “There is a constant level of fear they face that includes cases of physical abuse, sexual abuse that are detrimental to their well being.”

What’s being done to help improve these conditions?

Cook says that there a better alternatives for women and children instead of being held in these detention centers. She recommends community based organizations like shelters that can better serve women and children. These centers would cost less and be more humane for women and children.

“The evidence is there and it shows that these practices are harmful to children and families. Community based centers are better alternatives and they insure that asylum seekers have access to information about their rights and immigration process,” Cook said. ‘ The fact is they’re just looking for a better life and these detention centers are leaving a long-lasting impact that will do more harm.”

Even when women do leave detention centers, being able to survive on their own is increasingly difficult. Factors like finding a job, a place to live and paying back debt, all lead to continued stress and trauma on their lives.

“Seeking asylum for persecution is a national human right,” Cook says. “And we truly lose sight of that.”

READ: The Trump Administration Will Soon Start DNA Testing Families At The Border

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These Graduation Photos Of Latinas Will Motivate You To Continue Reaching

Things That Matter

These Graduation Photos Of Latinas Will Motivate You To Continue Reaching

Babes! Graduation season is upon us, and what does that mean? It’s time for one hell of a fiesta! But in all seriousness, it’s also a good time for us to think about what it means for Latinas – for some, this is the first time someone in their family is graduating from university. For others, it’s a chance to change the trajectory of their life. So, without further ado, read on to see these world-changers getting the most out of their graduation … and maybe get some outfit ideas for your own si se puede graduation.

1. Sometimes graduation means setting an example.

Instagram / @_daisssyyy_

It doesn’t get much more inspiring than this: “My culture, my brown skin. Our food. The language. Todo tan hermoso. The struggles of being brown. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’m proud to identify as Mexicana, Chicana, but most importantly, CHINGONA … being Latina for me is being a strong woman. If you have a dream … don’t ever let anyone take it away. Always believe that the impossible is possible … my ancestors went through hell so I wouldn’t have to, best believe I’m going to make a difference.”

2. For others, graduation is about being the first in the family to finish school.

Instagram / @gp_portraits

Although considering all the stress and tears that go into getting the degree, it can sometimes feel like the entire family should get an award for putting up with it!

3. Pets are an important part of graduation, too.

Instagram / @_ericaaaa5

Maybe your fur baby is your motivation for going to school. Or, maybe they just knew when you needed cuddles to get you through the next assignment. Whatever it is, the fact of the matter is that you’re probably going to want photos with your pets, since they’re part of the family, too!

4. Graduation is a good time to look back and see how far you’ve come.

Instagram / @cafe.c.leche

These days it feels like once we’ve hit a milestone, we just start looking for the next goal to aim for. But, graduation is the best time to take a deep breath and enjoy the view. You’ve made it!

5. It’s time to celebrate in your own way!

Instagram / @bettyy_aceituno

If this means breaking out the bottles of expensive champagne and jumping into a fountain with your grad gear on, then so be it! Let your hair down since you’ve earned it just as much as this babe, a “first generation, daughter of immigrants, Latina graduate.”

An educated Latina knows she has no limits. 💫

wearemitu.com

Get the pin here!

6. Sure looks aren’t everything, but grad gives you a hella good excuse to dress up!

Instagram / @photoxkim

Babes, this is the time to wear the heels, splurge on the makeup, get your hair done and enjoy the ride. You’ve earned it, and you should look and feel good on the big day. It is your day, after all!

7. Graduation isn’t just about you finishing study – your friends are, too!

Instagram / @alix_carolina

Here’s some food for thought from this graduate: “Today has been such an overwhelming day of emotions. I’m grateful for the experience, even the sleepless nights, headaches, sweat and tears because I was able to achieve something I almost thought impossible. Thank you to everyone who made classes a little more bearable and I’m grateful for all the lifelong friendships I made along the way.” 

8. Sometimes grad is not only a celebration of what you’ve become but also who you’ve been all along.

Instagram / @carolina_grads

It’s worth knowing that you can defy the stereotype – and that just because you’ve immigrated doesn’t mean that you’re not able to learn and adapt, and grow as a person.

9. Graduation is definitely a time to be silly.

Instagram / @natdeegee

Sure, graduation is one hell of a milestone. But does that mean you have to be completely serious about it? Nope. Now is the time to raise your arms, dance, sing, laugh, and soak in the joy of seeing the payoff after working so hard.

10. Remember: you’re a graduate, an opportunity awaits you.

Instagram / @tvg1407

How does the saying go? “Good things come to those who work hard”? This is one graduate who knows what that really means: “My academic journey began nearly 7 years ago, but my life journey began 22 years ago. My mother, brother, and I came to the United States when I was five years old. I had absolutely no idea what was in store for me, for us … as the years flashed before my eyes, I’ve come to a realization that my mother sacrificed everything she had, our family back home, and worked tirelessly and endless hours to open a pathway to my “American Dream”. I had no choice but to give it my all with the resources that I had because my parents provided me with more than I could have asked for. “Sorry I can’t” does not belong in my vocabulary … and this is WHY I am standing before you in a picture, on your news feed holding my college degree; I graduated with HONORS. I am a proud immigrant who is accomplishing her “American Dream”. Si se puedo!”

11. Who can forget that graduation means designing your cap?

Instagram / @melissaborrego

“From migrant workers to a college graduate in two generations. What can I say, hard work is in my blood.” Your cap can have as much, or as little, as you want on it: it’s yours. In this case, it’s easy to see that this graduate has owned it: the painstaking details have paid off, and she has one jaw-dropping cap that’s both beautiful, and personal.

12. Graduation is also about being able to make your parents proud.

Instagram / @kcsilv

And in this case, thanking them for everything and sharing the moment with them, too.

13. Remember to bask in the spotlight.

Instagram / @alopaloful

Sure, your face is going to be aching by the end of the day from all the smiling, but if you wanted to get a good headshot or some Insta-worthy pics, this is the time for it! Every man and his dog will be getting photos of you, so this is the perfect opportunity to go all out and pose like you’re Selena Gomez on the red carpet.

14. Now is the time to stand out from the crowd.

Instagram / @rosanegra43_

No-one’s journey at university has been the same. This is your time to own it. Fresh out of school, you can set yourself apart from the rest with your smarts, solid work ethic, and boss time management skills. The world is your oyster!

15. If there’s anything you have learned, it’s to embrace who you are.

Instagram / @mariarojanohair

Daughter of an immigrant? Doesn’t matter. Well, it does matter, but not in the way you’d think. What matters is whether you show up, do what you need to do, and snap up the reward while everyone else is left reeling from your brilliance.

On a scale of one to ten, just how excited are you to be graduating? Let us know about it on Twitter – you can find it by clicking on the logo at the top of the page.

6. Sure looks aren’t everything, but grad gives you a hella good excuse to dress up!

Instagram / @photoxkim

Babes, this is the time to wear the heels, splurge on the makeup, get your hair done and enjoy the ride. You’ve earned it, and you should look and feel good on the big day. It is your day, after all!

7. Graduation isn’t just about you finishing study – your friends are, too!

Instagram / @alix_carolina

Here’s some food for thought from this graduate: “Today has been such an overwhelming day of emotions. I’m grateful for the experience, even the sleepless nights, headaches, sweat and tears because I was able to achieve something I almost thought impossible. Thank you to everyone who made classes a little more bearable and I’m grateful for all the lifelong friendships I made along the way.” 

8. Sometimes grad is not only a celebration of what you’ve become but also who you’ve been all along.

Instagram / @carolina_grads

It’s worth knowing that you can defy the stereotype – and that just because you’ve immigrated doesn’t mean that you’re not able to learn and adapt, and grow as a person.

9. Graduation is definitely a time to be silly.

Instagram / @natdeegee

Sure, graduation is one hell of a milestone. But does that mean you have to be completely serious about it? Nope. Now is the time to raise your arms, dance, sing, laugh, and soak in the joy of seeing the payoff after working so hard.

10. Remember: you’re a graduate, an opportunity awaits you.

Instagram / @tvg1407

How does the saying go? “Good things come to those who work hard”? This is one graduate who knows what that really means: “My academic journey began nearly 7 years ago, but my life journey began 22 years ago. My mother, brother, and I came to the United States when I was five years old. I had absolutely no idea what was in store for me, for us … as the years flashed before my eyes, I’ve come to a realization that my mother sacrificed everything she had, our family back home, and worked tirelessly and endless hours to open a pathway to my “American Dream”. I had no choice but to give it my all with the resources that I had because my parents provided me with more than I could have asked for. “Sorry I can’t” does not belong in my vocabulary … and this is WHY I am standing before you in a picture, on your news feed holding my college degree; I graduated with HONORS. I am a proud immigrant who is accomplishing her “American Dream”. Si se puedo!”

11. Who can forget that graduation means designing your cap?

Instagram / @melissaborrego

“From migrant workers to a college graduate in two generations. What can I say, hard work is in my blood.” Your cap can have as much, or as little, as you want on it: it’s yours. In this case, it’s easy to see that this graduate has owned it: the painstaking details have paid off, and she has one jaw-dropping cap that’s both beautiful, and personal.

12. Graduation is also about being able to make your parents proud.

Instagram / @kcsilv

And in this case, thanking them for everything and sharing the moment with them, too.

13. Remember to bask in the spotlight.

Instagram / @alopaloful

Sure, your face is going to be aching by the end of the day from all the smiling, but if you wanted to get a good headshot or some Insta-worthy pics, this is the time for it! Every man and his dog will be getting photos of you, so this is the perfect opportunity to go all out and pose like you’re Selena Gomez on the red carpet.

14. Now is the time to stand out from the crowd.

Instagram / @rosanegra43_

No-one’s journey at university has been the same. This is your time to own it. Fresh out of school, you can set yourself apart from the rest with your smarts, solid work ethic, and boss time management skills. The world is your oyster!

15. If there’s anything you have learned, it’s to embrace who you are.

Instagram / @mariarojanohair

Daughter of an immigrant? Doesn’t matter. Well, it does matter, but not in the way you’d think. What matters is whether you show up, do what you need to do, and snap up the reward while everyone else is left reeling from your brilliance.

On a scale of one to ten, just how excited are you to be graduating? Let us know about it on Twitter – you can find it by clicking on the logo at the top of the page.

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