A recent study carried out in the British capital reveals that 42% of the members of this resident community feel affected by domestic violence. Women are not the only victims; men are also reluctant to report abuse.
Marcos Ortiz F.
Depression, psychopathological conditions, anxiety, irritability and suicidal tendencies are some of the varied consequences of domestic violence, which are suffered by 42% of the Ecuadorians resident in London who say they feel affected by this type of abuse.
This is reflected in the study “Domestic violence in the Ecuadorian community based in London” carried out between July and September 2016, the results of which have recently been published. The sample included 210 people, whose ages range from 14 to 75 years.
“One of the reasons why individuals do not report such abuse is because of language. Social services are faced with this language barrier”, explains Alba Piedra, one of the researchers.
“The results are surprising, as many men say it is difficult to report such violence for fear of being looked down upon”, she adds.
According to the study, 55% of victims are female, while 43% are male (there is no information regarding the remaining 2%). Amongst the different types of violence, physiological abuse is most prevalent; it is 10 times more common than physical abuse. In terms of age, the population between 38 and 43 are most at risk.
“Women are affected by domestic violence, but we must also think about men, children and grandparents”, explains Marlene de Nobrega, another researcher, who adds that men often suffer from domestic abuse but are afraid that if they defend themselves, they will be the ones who end up being punished.
Researcher Marisol Urbano adds to this, saying “Sometimes men feel attacked when they are not allowed to see their children. And if a man is undocumented then he cannot file a report with the authorities”.
The study’s organisers explain that the research is a first step towards this reality, and they are hoping that the results lead to new findings.
“The fact that immigrants are afraid of being undocumented, afraid of not being able to progress academically and afraid of not being able to find work leads to isolation. They have no social ties, and factors such as food, accommodation and separation from family make it difficult to survive”, explains Alba Piedra. “These factors -she says- mean they can be predisposed as victims of domestic violence. It might happen at work, in social settings or at the hands of their partner. When you emigrate, your status changes.”
Amongst those who commit violent acts, 43% are married to the victim, while 38% are the victim’s employer, boyfriend or a family member.
The latter category includes cases of physical, sexual, phycological, financial and asset-related violence. Violence in the workplace is a reality for Ecuadorians living in London. 16% of male victims work in the cleaning sector, rising to 20% for women.
On the subject of professional help, Ecuadorian Consulate Jorge Moreno notes that, “there is a lack of NHS funding as there have been cuts in this area. They say that if you come here to live you must speak the language.”
Only 29% of those who have suffered such violence say they have received emotional support.
But 89% would like to have access to some help, preferably in Spanish. According to researchers, the fact that only 8% have reported domestic violence abuses can be explained through a lack of understanding of the system and fear.
The study will be accompanied by a series of seven workshops organised by the Family Emotional Wellbeing Project (FEWP).
Photos: Pixabay – (Translated by Abaigh Wheatley – email: firstname.lastname@example.org)