Asian & Pacific Islander Institute On Domestic Violence Essay

The Asian & Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence is a national resource center and clearinghouse on gender violence in Asian and Pacific Islander (API) communities. It serves a national network of advocates, community members, organizations, service agencies, professionals, researchers, policy advocates, and activists from community and social justice organizations working to eliminate violence against Asian and Pacific Islander women. The term Asian and Pacific Islander includes the peoples of Central Asian, East Asian, Southeast Asian, South Asian, West Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander ancestry (i.e., those who trace their origins to the countries, diasporas, and/or ethnicities of the above regions).

The API Institute’s focus on organizing and advocacy within and across API communities is informed by a gender-based analysis of the patriarchal roots of violence against women, embedded in additional structures of oppression based on race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, type of labor performed, level of education, class position, disability, or immigration/refugee status. The API Institute also explores how subjective experiences influence help-seeking behavior and empower resistance. Its programs—Policy & Research, Community Organizing, Technical Assistance & Training—and its resource center are committed to developing and promoting pan-Asian and culturally specific community models of prevention and intervention; training and networking advocates nationally, regionally, and locally; conducting and disseminating research; and influencing public policy. Although the API Institute’s analyses, reports, and policy reviews focus on the experiences and cultural contexts of immigrant or U.S.-born Asians and Pacific Islanders, much of its work is applicable to domestic violence survivors in other communities.

API’s publications and training curricula analyze gender violence over the life course, cultures of patriarchy and violence against API women, and differing expressions and dynamics of domestic violence (e.g., the presence of multiple batterers from the marital family, intra-Asian cultural competency, innovative strategies, and community organizing). Research publications include fact sheets, bibliographies, directories, glossaries, and translated materials. Critical issues focus on data and analysis about domestic violence– related homicides, battered women involved in the child welfare system, and sexual violence and trafficking. Additional areas of policy analysis and trainings are custody and mediation, forced marriages, institutionalized inequality and economic development for battered women, mental health and trauma, overreliance on the criminal legal system, HIV/AIDS and domestic violence, language access for immigrant women with limited English proficiency, and intersections of race, class, and gender in advocacy and systems change. The API Institute’s most notable publication, the Lifetime Spiral of Gender Violence, contributes to the theoretical understanding of violence against women by showing the prevalence of abuse at different stages over women’s life course. It is used by advocates, counselors, trainers, and faith based institutions nationally and internationally because it is a powerful representation of the overwhelming experiences of gender violence and accompanying disempowerment that many women, not only Asians and Pacific Islanders, face.

The API Institute is part of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, a national policy organization advocating for the health and well-being of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

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