The Intersectionality of Intimate Partner Violence in the Black Community

  • Johnny RiceIIEmail author
  • Carolyn M. West
  • Karma Cottman
  • Gretta Gardner
Living reference work entry


To adequately address intimate partner violence in the black community in the USA, it is imperative to discuss historical oppression and examine how intersecting realities influence intimate partner/gender-based violence and individual, community, and systemic responses. Institutionalized and internalized oppression through racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, xenophobia, religious subjugation, etc., perpetuates unrecognized, unaddressed, and denied traumatic experiences for black survivors. One of the leading causes of death for black women aged 15–35 is intimate partner violence. Black women are almost three times more likely than white women to be killed by an intimate partner. This chapter will explore why culturally specific, trauma-informed practices are essential for holistic responses. For a black survivor, oppression, implicit/explicit bias, and racial loyalty/collectivism directly impact how female survivors perceive, react to, and report intimate partner violence. Racism and stereotypes continue to contribute to the failure of the legal systems, crisis services, and other programs to provide adequate resources and assistance to black survivors. Survivors who are foreign-born Africans, Afro Caribbeans, and Afro Latinas experience limited access to services in their first languages and/or limited interpreters who speak the native language, fear of interacting with systems and deportation, and little cultural understanding and empathy from service providers. We will provide promising practices, guiding principles, and culturally specific resources to illuminate the opportunities that exist to support the resiliency, autonomy, and self-determination of black survivors.


Intimate partner violence Victims and survivors Black women African immigrant Black Caribbean women Ethnic identity Intersectionality Marginalization Racism and bias Historical trauma Foreign-born African 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johnny RiceII
    • 1
    Email author
  • Carolyn M. West
    • 2
  • Karma Cottman
    • 3
  • Gretta Gardner
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Criminal Justice, College of Behavioral and Social SciencesCoppin State UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.University of WashingtonTacomaUSA
  3. 3.Ujima Inc.: The National Center on Violence Against Women in the Black CommunityWashingtonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Jennifer Langhinrichsen-Rohling
    • 1
  • Glenna Tinney
    • 2
  • Shelly M. Wagers
    • 3
  • L. Kevin Hamberger
    • 4
  • Alan Rosenbaum
    • 5
  1. 1.University of North Carolina- CharlotteCharlotteUSA
  2. 2.ConsultantAlexandriaUSA
  3. 3.College of Arts and Sciences - Society, Culture, and LanguageUniversity of South Florida - St. PetersburgSt. PetersburgUSA
  4. 4.Department of Family and Community MedicineMedical College of WisconsinMilwaukeeUSA
  5. 5.Department of PsychologyNorthern Illinois UniversityDeKalbUSA

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