Thursday, November 1, 2007

Suicide - A Solution for Victims?

Many times when we talk to community groups about domestic violence, women insist that they would kill their partners rather than endure prolonged abuse. In the UK we are seeing a different shift: women killing themselves rather than allowing their partners to do it.

A large number of Asian women in Britain are committing suicide by taking to railway tracks, a report has revealed. One third of the total suicides in Britain now happen on a particular stretch of track going through Southall, west London, which has a large Asian community...

A women’s rights organisation, Southall Black Sisters, has claimed that domestic violence is forcing more and more Asian women in Britain to commit suicide on railway tracks. "The high instance of Asian women suicides is linked to abusive practices within Asian families. There is a correlation between these suicides and violence in homes. Psychiatric research has shown there are rarely cases of mental disorders in these cases, suggesting they are the result of social circumstances. These women are often isolated and find it hard to escape."
It is also true in this country that immigrant victims of domestic violence become isolated and are afraid to report abuse because of the risk of police harrassment or deportation. If the victim doesn't speak English, well or at all, this additionally complicates her ability to escape. This truth also applies to other minority populations who do not traditionally trust the police or the court system, and therefore would not seek their assistance if they chose to leave.

We would love to hear comments from our colleagues at Tapestri, Caminar Latino, The Center for Pan Asian Community Services, and others about how members of these often isolated populations can work against domestic violence in their communities.

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