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Research Reflection Paper

Betsy Tuitavuki

Professor Kadiri

ETHS 2410

5 April 2019

Research Reflection Paper

My group’s topic is Domestic Violence (DV) and Seeking Help in the African

American (AA) Community. We categorized our research into six topics that we deemed

were important. The six topics are stigmas, religious influences, lack of information,

services/access, racial loyalty and socioeconomic status.

Zeinab is covering stigmas and religious influences. There are stigmas on both AA men

and women that equally affect their sense of worth and confidence. These same stigmas

and stereotypes are antagonizers towards DV. We all agreed race plays one of the biggest

roles in DV, especially in society as African Americans are oppressed in several ways that

can further ignite violence in the home. Zeinab said she would also like to speak about

mental illness as being a stigma in the AA/Black community. It’s not taken as seriously as it

should be and that plays its role in DV in the community. We all agreed that religion is also

relevant to this topic. Religious leaders were one of the people that battered women

considered in confiding with about their abuse. Many AA/Black women use spiritual coping,

like prayer or involving themselves in church functions. While those are good things, those

activities can be used as means to ignore the abuse.

Kaitlin is speaking on racial loyalty and socioeconomic status. We felt these were

also very important subtopics that impact DV in the AA/Black community. I found racial

loyalty in many of my own articles. Racism is one of the more prioritized issues in their

community which can have battered women downplay their abuse as to be loyal to their

abusive partners. However we recognized that this reason is not the only one that battered

women use. The high rates of incarceration are prevalent in the AA/Black community.

Women don’t want their husbands to go into a system that will further oppress them.

Socioeconomic status plays a big role in why abused women don’t seek professional

help. We all found this in all of our articles. Lower income/working class AA/Black women

face many factors that they include before making the decision to seek help. Many battered

women’s husbands are the breadwinners, and so by calling the police on them, that financial

support is gone. Socioeconomic status also affects the batterers as AA/Black men have high

rates of unemployment and this puts a strain on their role as a male and breadwinner of the


I chose to research about the lack of information about DV in the AA community and

what services there are or are not, and how accessible the services are. All of my group

members felt the huge lack of information in all the aspects of this topic. Almost all of my

sources spoke out about the need for more research. Time magazine “Why Black Women

Struggle More With Domestic Violence” urged the need for more research that directly and

indirectly provides evidence about DV in the community, especially at AA/Black women

(Jones, 2014).

I will also speak about the need for qualitative research. One article surveyed Black

women who were at a health center and the author wrote about the need for this type of

research. The author noticed that some women hadn’t considered the possibility of talking to

someone else about their abuse (Fraser, McNutt, Clark, Williams-Muhammed & Lee, 2002).

This type of research method must be used to understand why some Black women think this

way and how that can possibly hinder their safety.

Something that our group also noticed was the lack of research on how mental illness

plays a role in mostly women who are, or were in, abusive relationships. Illnesses like PTSD,

suicide, depression and many more have come up in our research that aren’t further

researched about.

One article where judges who were of the global majority spoke on their thoughts and

suggestions on how to improve court services. Many of the judges spoke about the

importance on researching women of color who actually use courts (Williams & Jenkins,

2015). This type of research would bring more awareness on if the court processes are

effective and beneficial. They also highlighted the significance of making sure that research

is in “usable form, analyzed and interpreted with recommendations” (Williams & Jenkins,


Further research on how studies were conducted was also brought up. The way

researchers find samples should include their obligation to reach out to victims/survivors of

DV who are more cautious in speaking about their abuse (Potter, 2008).

Masculinity was a huge issue that was barely brought up in our articles but is very

important. The effects of the ideals of masculinity in the AA/Black community must be

researched more. Articles focused on AA batterers, even male victims of DV, were scarce. I

would like to speak briefly on this fact. There are facts to be considered when researching

about AA men who are batterers and those who are victims/survivors of DV. An article spoke

about how music with misogynist and sexual objectification lyrics can affect young AA men

into valuing such descriptions and ideals (Aymer, 2011). Racial strains that alienate

AA/Black men, high rates of incarceration and unemployment are only a few factors that

should be analyzed further to understand how that plays its role in how masculinity of

AA/Black men negatively affects one who is violent to their intimate partner.

For service and access, I wanted to break it down. So I am splitting service into informal

and formal service types. Informal support would be friends, family, religious and/or

community leaders. In the articles that conducted studies many women who were in, or had

been in, an abusive relationship sought help from their families or friends first. One source

spoke about family support being the “most important method of support” according to their

study (Potter, 2008). Another study resulted in 86.9% of women who were, or had been, in a

DV relationship were willing to confide in a friend than any other person (Fraser et al., 2002).

Formal support consisted of professional setting type places like clinics, therapy, doctors,

women’s shelters and the justice system. In the same study mentioned just above, 82.3%

surveyed said if they were advised to go to a battered women’s shelter they would consider

it with value (Fraser et al., 2002). In the same study, the option for confiding in one’s own

doctor were usually lower percentages. I want to briefly speak about why some AA/Black

women wouldn’t seek formal support. It varied from shame or stigmas labeled on AA/Black

women (Fraser et al., 2002) to not being able to afford services (Potter, 2008). The reasons

in and of itself are numerous and very important to consider when one is doing further


Another topic under services that I wanted to include were approaches needed and

things to consider. All of my sources not only spoke about the need for more research but

also better services. For treatment there was an overall need for culturally sensitive

approaches and interventions. It’s also important for “culturally responsive courts” (Williams

& Jenkins, 2015) and for judges to be especially open and unprejudiced with people of the

global majority. The need for judges of color are also important especially for AA/Black

women who are seen as “difficult” once they raise their voice and are then questioned as to

if they really are a victim of DV (Williams & Jenkins, 2015).

An article spoke about the importance of the spiritual well being of suicidal AA

women who are in, or were in, DV relationships. Spiritually competent assessments were

suggested as well (Arnette, Mascaro, Santana, Davis & Kaslow, 2007). Specified DV service

centers should be established as well as it provides victims/survivors with specialized

DV-trained staff and more specified services (Williams & Jenkins, 2015). Bringing awareness

to the AA/Black community is especially important because it shows the community that DV

is an important issue. This effort is not only in the hands of community leaders but also the

church leaders, local police, social workers, advocates, and the citizens in that community.

It’s also imperative that all professional staff are trained to be culturally sensitive especially

to AA/Black women who are the most affected with DV (Potter, 2008).

Before taking this class, I had a vague understanding of the history about African

Americans. The past few years, I became more aware of the issues that concerned their

community. Now, as this class nears its end, I have learned an abundant amount of

information, correlating with the first student learning outcome. The required readings we’ve

had each week has helped me grow more knowledgeable about the several activists who

brought awareness to the growing concerns and injustices in and towards the Black/AA

community. The discussions throughout this semester gave me more awareness of the

different opinions my classmates had on the topics and readings. During the debate of W. E.

B. Du Bois versus Booker T. Washington, I not only learned more about their views about

civil rights but also my other classmates opinions. I also was able to develop my own opinion

and more so could relate towards W. E. B. Du Bois’ views.

This course has also helped me understand historical events and Acts passed like the

post civil war reconstruction period, Emancipation Proclamation and Jim Crow Laws and

many more. My research project has given me a deeper understanding of the various factors

in the AA community in regards to domestic violence and seeking help.

The project also exposed me to a few studies that were conducted about domestic

violence. Many statistical research all highlighted the fact that AA women were at the

greatest risk of domestic violence than any other race. This relates to the third student

learning outcome. In class we’ve also seen statistics on African- heritage immigrants and

how they are also affected by racism in America. I’ve be able to read a number of articles

with supporting proof pointing out how systemic racism, discrimination and several more

affect the AA community.

While researching for my project, I noticed patterns of behavior in AA women who were

interviewed in responding about Domestic violence. I also noticed how many of my articles

urged for more culturally competent services. This relates to the fifth student learning

outcome. There is so much need for aid, reassurance and social justice for oppressed

groups. The hate flyers that went around our campus, and the lack of communication from

the administration to us students is also an example.



Arnette, N. C., Mascaro, N., Santana, M. C., Davis, S., & Kaslow, N. J. (2007). Enhancing

spiritual well-being among suicidal African American female survivors of intimate

partner violence. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 63(10), 909–924.


Aymer, S. (2011). A Case for Including the “Lived Experience” of AA Men in Batterers’

Treatment. Journal of AA Studies, 15(3), 352–366.


Fraser, I. M., McNutt, L.-A., Clark, C., Williams-Muhammed, D., & Lee, R. (2002). Social

support choices for help with abusive relationships: Perceptions of AA women.

Journal of Family Violence, 17(4), 363–375.


Jones, F. (2014, September 10). Ray Rice: Black Women Struggle More With Domestic

Abuse. Retrieved April 5, 2019, from


Potter, H. (2008). Battle Cries : Black Women and Intimate Partner Abuse. New York: NYU

Press. Retrieved from



Williams, O. J., & Jenkins, E. J. (2015). Minority Judges’ Recommendations for Improving

Court Services for Battered Women of Color: A Focus Group Report. Journal of

Child Custody, 12(2), 175–191. https://doi.org/10.1080/15379418.2015.1060877