MSNBC's The Rundown Sheds Light On Unique Barriers The Latino Community Faces In Reporting Sexual Assault And Domestic Violence

MSNBC's José Díaz-Balart shed light on the unique barriers Hispanic women face in reporting domestic violence and sexual assault, celebrating a new study that advocates a more inclusive discussion among allies and survivors, and shows that fear of deportation and losing their children prevents many Latina victims from seeking help.

According to the study, commissioned by the Avon Foundation for Women, the National Latin@ Network, and the No More campaign, more than half of Latinos in the U.S. “know a victim of domestic violence,” and one in four Latinos knows someone who “was a victim of sexual assault.” The study also found that 41% of Latinas “believe the primary reason Latin[a] victims may not come forward is fear of deportation,” and 39% point to “fear of children being taken away.”

Host Díaz-Balart highlighted the study during the April 24 edition of MSNBC's The Rundown, and guest Juan Carlos Areán, senior director of the National Latino Network for Healthy Families and Communities explained that while the study showed “a lot of Latinos know victims of both domestic violence and sexual assault,” the good news is that it also showed Latinos are “already doing something to solve the problem”  by aiding and supporting victims and sparking a more inclusive discussion among survivors and allies.

Areán also pointed out that while sexual assault and domestic violence “do not happen in greater numbers in the Latino community than the general population,”   there are “different barriers”  that Latinas face in seeking help and reporting violence, including fear of deportation for those who are undocumented. 

As Huffington Post noted, “immigrant advocates often cite domestic violence as a key reason to keep police out of immigration matters,” and as Areán explained to ThinkProgress, “the fear of deportation comes from anecdotal evidence ... though it's not prevalent, when immigrants call the police, they might end up getting arrested themselves because of the suspicion that they're undocumented. This builds enough fear for the community to be afraid.”