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Indian Immigrants' Attitudes and Understandings of Violence Against Women Open Access

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In the canon of feminist research on violence against women, this thesis seeks to describe the character of gendered violence among Indians whose lives and views have been shaped in two national contexts. This research is grounded in the analysis of field observations and focus groups conducted with thirty-two women and thirty men who emigrated from India to the United States. I examine the ideologies and values of Indian immigrants to better understand the elements that contribute to the challenges Indian women face. Based on the focus group data and feminist theory literature, I identify five primary themes in this thesis: 1) Traditional gender roles, conservative beliefs, and religion highly influence the experience of acculturation; 2) the role of reproducing Indian culture and values in the U.S. is disproportionately assigned to women; 3) social, mental, and economic isolation perpetuates the challenges women face; 4) silencing and privatizing the issue of violence against women (VAW) plays a significant role in delegitimizing the problem and inhibiting reporting; 5) there exists a disparity between Indian men and women in the distribution of power, education, and material resources. While scholars have documented higher levels of violence against women in India than against Indian women who have immigrated to the United States, it is not entirely clear yet what drives these differences and how they transpire. I ultimately argue that Indian Americans in the U.S. continue to preserve their ethnic identity and reproduce cultural and traditional notions and beliefs, including employing disproportionate gendered expectations, promoting the unequal distribution of power between men and women, and perpetuating violence-supportive beliefs.

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