Understanding the narratives of immigrant and refugee women (IRW) in intimate partner violence in Canada across pre-migration, migration, and post-migration (PMP) trajectories

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Akinyele-Akanbi, Bolaji
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ABSTRACT Introduction: Studies on intimate partner violence have established several contributing and complicating factors to IPV concerns among immigrant families in the diaspora. The implications of IPV indicate that immigrant and refugee women are entangled in their relationships based on cultural, structural, and familial factors. Aim and Objectives: There is a scarcity of wholistic research on immigrant and refugee women’s intimate partner violence across pre-migration, migration, and post-migration trajectories in Canada. This narrative study explored the IPV experiences of immigrant and refugee women in Canada across the pre-migration, migration, and post-migration (PMP) trajectories through four research questions: What are the immigrant and refugee women’s experiences of IPV in the pre-migration, migration, and post-migration periods? To what extent has the cultural background of newcomer women impacted their relationships and settlement in their new societies, which led to intimate partner violence? How has the precarious immigration status of immigrant and refugee women influenced their continuous stay in their relationships? How helpful have the mainstream interventions been for IRW in IPV relationships in Canada? Methods: Twenty-seven IRW from sixteen racialized communities from Africa, Asia, The Caribbean, Europe, South America, and the Middle East were recruited in Winnipeg through flyers, community organizations, snowball sampling, and social media. Virtual (video and telephone) semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with the participants. Whereas all participants had minimal English communication, five participants requested interpretations to ensure fluent narration of their IPV experiences. Research data were analyzed through MAXQDA qualitative software using Connelly and Clandinin’s (2006) three-dimensional features – temporality, sociality, and place and question alignment analysis methods. Results: The study indicated that the intersections of gender, age, reproduction/pregnancy, immigration, systemic, socio-economic, and cultural/religious factors contributed to the continuity and vulnerability of immigrant and refugee women’s IPV experiences across PMP. All participants highlighted the theme of wives as slaves. Participants reported the deprivation of self-determination in their intimate relationships and the Canadian systems, but highlighted self-efficacy within the Canadian culture. Some participants advised experiencing the same level of violence across all borders The study produced a PMP model of assessment and interventions for IRW service providers.
immigrant and refugee women, intimate partner violence, pre-migration, migration, post-migration, precarious immigration, settlement, immigration