Recent data on intimate partner violence in the United States indicates that the risk is declining for women, who make up the majority of victims. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the rate of intimate partner violence dropped by more than two-thirds between 1994 and 2012.
But might some women be less inclined to report intimate partner violence than others? That’s what two UCLA Fielding School of Public Health faculty members are investigating. Specifically, they’re uncovering how intimate partner violence affects two groups of women: Asian immigrants and women of all ethnicities who identify as lesbian or bisexual.
Previous research has shown that Asian immigrant women in the U.S. are less likely to report physical or sexual assault by their partners than are other racial and ethnic groups. Dr. Paula Tavrow, associate adjunct professor in the Fielding School’s department of community health sciences and director of the Bixby Program in Population and Reproductive Health, recently led a study to learn how Asian immigrant women would respond after watching a three-minute video in which a woman from the same ethnic group talked about disclosing abuse to a health provider and getting help.
“The idea was that these videos would be equivalent to hearing from a trusted friend,” Dr. Tavrow says.
Participants were 60 married women who lived in California and immigrated to the U.S. as adults from four countries: mainland China, Thailand, South Korea and Vietnam. Fielding School doctoral and MPH students who spoke the languages fluently collected the data, which entailed meeting one on one with the women, showing them the videos and interviewing them in their native tongues. During the interviews, some of the women revealed that they had previously or were currently experiencing domestic violence, and the team made sure that they knew what services were available to assist them.