Violence in relationships is more common than most people think. Violence doesn't discriminate. Intimate violence takes place in all communities and religious groups. It affects people of all ages, socioeconomic status, gender etc.
Traditionally, familial violence has mainly been discussed in Australia in terms of anglo/straight relationships. Not much data is collected on culturally and linguistically diverse couples specifically, including cross-cultural and/or interfaith relationships and the impact on mental health for the partners and/or the children.
The truth of the matter is that relationship violence is an issue for every community, even the ones that do not admit to it. It is generally believed that mental health can be a risk factor contributing to partner violence. It could also be an outcome of the violence itself. In situations where migrants are non-English speaking newly-arrived from countries were they have experience hardship and trauma, it may be more difficult to 'speak up' and be heard, having very limited or no resources to deal with the issue.
Many migrants who experience violence in their relationships aren't willing to talk about it or ask for help from either friends (fear of judgement) or professional counsellors (lack of ability to navigate the system and access issues due to linguistic or cultural barriers). They often may feel too embarrassed to talk about it, believe that they won't be taken seriously, or convince themselves that the violence is due to the migration stress and the challenges in the new country and that is just a passing phase in the relationship. Many may not be aware of the law in Australia and/or their rights. They may come from a culture where violence is excused and/or tolerated. In some cases, victims can even think that they deserve it or invent excuses on their partner's behalf. For those reasons, relationship violence within certain communities can often go unnoticed and unreported for long periods of time.
Stopping violence in a relationship can seldom be done from the inside. However, many non-English speaking people are often not asking others for help. This can lead to anxiety, depression and other mental health issues.
Most professional services are geared towards English-speaking women although there are a few services that are recognised for their sensitivity to non-English speaking communities. If you are experiencing violence in your relationship, how can you talk to someone about it?