Sexual Violence and Immigrant Women in NYC: A Participatory Action Research Pilot Project
This pilot study aimed to provide immigrant women with:
- an opportunity to describe the impact sexual violence has on their lives,
- a forum to reflect on the options women in their communities have when seeking help for sexual violence,
- a forum to reflect on how sexual violence could be prevented in their community; and
- a supportive and interactive environment to discuss a long-silenced danger in their lives. [Read the full report (pdf)]
New! Testimonial from NYC Alliance Against Sexual Assault to New York City Council, March 23, 2010 Oversight Hearing: How does the Violence Against Women Act Impact Services for Immigrant Women in New York City? [Download the pdf]
The Alliance partnered with New School University's Graduate Program in International Affairs to conduct this pilot study. This community-academic partnership allowed the Alliance to work closely with academic experts in the field of participatory research and to work with graduate level students who speak many different foreign languages and have experience working with many different ethnic groups. Furthermore, the Alliance feels strongly about training the future generation of public health and social service leaders on the importance of community participation in the development of intervention and prevention of gender-based violence.
Through this partnership with the New School, we first worked with students taking a graduate course on participatory research in the international affairs program. With us the students interviewed 57 key stakeholders and community members in NYC around the topic of SV and immigrant women and ways to go about beginning a research project. The research team incorporated the feedback from the community leaders and stakeholders to design participatory research tools that would address the four goal areas. In the course, we split into teams of three. Each team consisted of graduate students, professors and Alliance staff members. The three teams each had a subject area corresponding to our goals, specifically 1) scope and impact of SV, 2) intervention and 3) prevention. The research teams then developed participatory tools to address these three areas. Examples of the tools developed by the teams include the vignette, a strategy diagram, listing and ranking activities and a picture survey.
Using these tools, the research teams facilitated five focus groups across NYC with immigrant women in three languages: Spanish, English and French. The immigrant women debriefed with the research team on every phase of the group discussions. Key findings highlighted the difficulties accessing services, the problems posed by immigration status and ideas for community-based prevention.
Several different pilot instruments were developed. Specifically,
- A vignette to explore what services a community wants/needs and knowledge of and access to existing services [Read in English (pdf)] [Read in French (pdf)]
- A picture survey was developed to get a better understanding of the prevalence of sexual violence within the groups through an anonymous survey. [Read in English (pdf)] [Read in French (pdf)] [Read in Spanish (pdf)]
- A strategy diagram was developed to explore community specific ideas around the prevention of sexual violence. [Read in English (pdf)] [Read in Spanish (pdf)]
- A focus group guide was developed to explore more in-depth the scope and impact of sexual violence. [Read the focus group guide in English (pdf)]
Community Report Back Meeting
The research teams presented the preliminary findings from the pilot at a community report back meeting. [Download the presentation (ppt)]