Exploring Cultural and Socio-Political Influences on the Post-Rape Decisions and Behaviors of Undocumented Immigrant Women of Mexican-Origin
AuthorAcosta, Lauren Anne
AdvisorMcEwen, Marylyn M.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction, presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractMillions of undocumented immigrant women of Mexican-origin (UIWM) currently reside in the U.S. (American Immigration Council, 2014), with the majority living in border states (Massey, Rugh, & Pren, 2010). National data suggest that thousands of these women will experience a rape during their time in this country (Black et al., 2011). Their marginalized status makes them uniquely vulnerable to rape sequelae (Bryant-Davis, Chung, Tillman, & Belcourt, 2009), yet few studies have focused on the needs of this unique group of rape survivors. This study used a critical ethnographic approach to explore the cultural and socio-political influences on the post-rape decision-making processes and behaviors (i.e. discloser and help-seeking) of UIWM that experienced a rape in the U.S. border region. Thirteen key informants, including six UIWM that survived rape and seven stakeholders (individuals with knowledge of, or contact with, UIWM that have survived rape) participated in interviews; survivors also participated in a PhotoVoice activity. Data were analyzed according to Carspecken’s (1996) guidelines for critical qualitative research and incorporated photographic analysis. Three domains were revealed: Helping Survivors, Barrier After Barrier, and Overcoming, which were united by the overarching theme Struggling to Heal. Findings were plotted on an adapted matrix of oppression and organized into an illustrative diagram. Findings suggest that although help is available for survivors, for UIWM healing is a constant struggle against cultural, social, and political barriers that make moving forward difficult. These findings fill a gap in current literature and will allow rape crisis centers and other organizations to garner a better understanding of the specific needs of UIWM following rape.
Degree ProgramGraduate College