Conversation on Sexual Assault, Trafficking Sidelines Minorities

Sexual Assault has become a topic of conversation in the last few years. Women have begun speaking up about their experiences of sexual assault. However, the conversation has been focused on wealthy cis-gender, heterosexual, white women.

There is not only a power dynamic in the people who rape, but within the community of victims, too. Women of color are rarely included in conversations of sexual assault, however if they are included it focuses on black women.

Lantix women are forgotten. Their issues differ from many African-American women, including language barriers and immigration status. There are so many reasons the sexual assaults of Latinx women go unheard.

“Many migrating Latinas encounter increased vulnerability because of limited economic resources, unfamiliarity with the border region, language differences, and an insidious culture of impunity regarding crimes against women,” according to the organization, Mujeres Latinas en Accion.

The Lantix Community has increased in America over the last decade.  Many immigrants come to America for a better life because of the widespread poverty and unemployment present in their countries – yet to receive legal residency is difficult. This makes many people desperate to come to the United States. Therefore, it leaves authority figures with access to abuse their power.

According to Exitste Ayuda, an organization that provides assistance to Spanish-speaking sexual assault victims, “For the increasing numbers of women who make the journey across the Mexico-U.S. border, rape has become so prevalent that many women take birth control pills or get shots before setting out to ensure that they won’t get pregnant.”

The American Justice system is already problematic when dealing with rape.

It creates a new challenge for non-English speakers. Having Spanish-speaking staff members and translators is becoming more prevalent with the increase of the growing Latinx population.

However, smaller, more rural law enforcement agencies might not be able to provide language services. Also, the way rape is persecuted in the United States may be different than their country of origin.  Latinx sexual assault victims could possible intimidated by these factors and many more.

“Along with an unfamiliarity of legal procedures, many Latinas face additional barriers through negative responses from law enforcement, the legal system, medical personnel, and social services,” according to Mujeres Latinas en Accion,

Latinx culture can also be a barrier for conversations. Conservatism in the community can cause victims to be silenced.  Gender roles have a great importance in Lantix culture. Like American culture, gender roles can lead to perceptions and create a culture that women are in increasing danger of rape. The gender roles perpetuate rape culture.

In a Neiman study conducted by Jessica M. Torres-Pryor, “Gender roles for Latinos/as in relation to rape have also been implied to be associated with violence toward women because of the rigid gender role expectations males and females in Latino/a communities might be expected to uphold and negotiate as part of the U.S. culture.”

Many factors contribute to the silence of women within Latinx community, including language and immigration status. Justice, according to advocates, should be an option for all women who reside in the United States including women not proficient in English or women who do not reside here legally.

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