Methods: Given the enormous ethnic, socio-cultural, linguistic and religious variation among Asians, this project focused upon three major Asian subgroups: Filipinas, Indians and Pakistanis. Using multiple methods of community outreach, we recruited participants: between ages 18 to 60; having experienced physical violence, sexual violence, and/or stalking at the hands of an intimate partner; and residing in San Francisco Bay Area. Trained interviewers conducted face-to-face interviews in English, Tagalog, and Hindi with 143 women (87 Filipina, 56 Indian and Pakistani). The Life History Calendar (LHC) method was used to facilitate the participants’ memory retrieval of their experiences over time. Participants were asked open-ended questions concerning the types and sources of what they perceived to be the most helpful response they received.
Results: Excluding those who have not sought help or declined to answer, 83 participants responded to the question, “Looking back, what were the most helpful responses from any individual organization you had contact with?” Content analysis identified a range of broad categories of what participants considered to be most helpful: 47.9% mentioned some type of information and/or referrals; 23.9%, tangible/concrete assistance such as a place to stay, monetary assistance, child care and provision of food; and 23.9%, emotional support. Also frequently mentioned were responses that involved display of caring, concerned and empathic communications.
For the sources of most helpful response, over 30% identified friends; 27.6%, DV programs that serve specifically Asian populations (Asian DV programs; and 21.1%, family. Other sources of most helpful responses include, helping professionals (14.5%), non-Asian DV programs (13.2%), and criminal legal agencies (11.8%). Regardless of ethnicity, participants frequently identified friends and family as the source of the most helpful responses. For Indian/Pakistani women, the largest proportion of respondents identified Asian DV programs as the sources of the most helpful responses. There were also variations by immigration/generational status. For example, the largest proportion of the first generation immigrants identified Asian DV programs as the source of most helpful response, and in contrast, this was one of the least frequently mentioned sources among the U.S.-born and those who had immigrated to the U.S. pre-adolescence.
Conclusion and Implications: While informal sources provide helpful assistance to Asian women experiencing DV, various programs can play an important role. Nevertheless, the perceived helpfulness varied by ethnicity and immigration status, which are interrelated among this sample. In designing assistance programs, attention to within-group variations such as specific linguistic and socio-cultural needs is important.