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Latina women: Victims of domestic violence

By Pablo Jaime Sáinz
La Prensa San Diego

SAN DIEGO — More than 65 percent of women who get help from a center for domestic violence in San Diego are Latinas.

The numbers are alarming, but there are even more Latinas who don’t dare to denounce their aggressors because of fear, according to Cristina del Razo, an analyst at the San Diego Family Justice Center, a center that offers counseling and resources to people who have experienced violence at home.

“I think it is because of a lack of formal education but also because of cultural issues,” Del Razo said. “Ever since we were little girls, Latinas are not taught to love ourselves.”

Dr. Javier Campos, one of the psychologists who works with women at the San Diego Family Justice Center, said that the fear domestic violence victims suffer paralyzes them, it stops them from seeking help. What’s worse is that undocumented women are even less likely to try to leave the cycle of violence, for fear of deportation.

“But they need to know that they can denounce without fear,” Campos said. “You have to call 9-11, no matter what you legal status in this country is.”

Machismo is still very present in Latino culture, which gives a place of authority to men and puts women as second-class citizens. This is a major reason for such a high incidence of domestic violence among Latinas.

“Men feel they have the right to beat women, because they believe men have all the power,” Campos said. “Also, the culture tells women since they are little that they have to obey and be submissive.”

The San Diego Family Justice Center is…

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