Domestic/intimate partner violence (DIPV) does not discriminate. Abuse, mistreatment, or neglect by a domestic/intimate partner can occur in any relationship, with people of any orientation, culture, or socioeconomic background. And there are many systemic barriers that prevent those affected from accessing support.
Non-status, Refugee and Immigrant (NSRI) women are likewise impacted by DIPV. But in addition to the regular obstacles, NSRI women face added challenges. Language barriers, cultural traditions, gender expectations, and a lack of social networks are just a few of the obstacles conspiring to keep this vulnerable population insulated and invisible.
To address these unique challenges, NBMC is launching IMvisible NB, a new program designed to empower NSRI women experiencing DIPV.
The first of its kind in our province, the IMvisible initiative began in 2015 with a project titled “Overcoming Barriers: a coordinated response to violence against immigrant women in New Brunswick”. Piloted by Ginette Gautreau before her tenure as NBMC’s Executive director, the project used an intercultural lens to collect stories of NSRI women experiencing DIPV. Armed with such powerful narratives, NBMC was able to rally diverse stakeholders, community organizations, and government departments to participate in conversations focused on giving visibility to an issue that remains largely in the shadows. IMvisible NB is the result of those conversations, and its mission is to increase New Brunswick’s capacity to support Non-Status, Refugee and Immigrant women impacted by domestic/intimate partner violence. IMvisible intends to be a collective and coordinated effort focused on multiple initiatives. The project’s goals include:
- Conducting needs assessment to address intersectional barriers to equality for diverse women.
- Developing and implementing prevention-focused strategies for supporting intersectional feminism and gender equality.
- Collaborating across sectors to advance gender parity.
- Developing in-depth staff training on cross-cultural communications and antiracism.
- Developing appropriate resources and outreach strategies for improved contact and communications with immigrant women.
Key to our approach is a shift beyond western methods of intervention. Of course, this process will evolve as stories emerge. Our intention is to learn from NSRI women’s experiences. We understand there is no one size fits all solution to physical or psychological trauma. We believe that all stories deserve to be heard and that each of them has the potential to inform, enlighten, and inspire. In fact, our vision of a fully inclusive New Brunswick demands it.
With support from our partners across the province, the IMvisible NB project promises to develop knowledge, tools, and training opportunities. We will advocate, build bridges, and connect partners with the capacity to accommodate diverse cultural identities.
We will do this with compassion, care, and commitment. We will embrace vulnerability, champion resilience, and promote the rights of all women, regardless of age, race, ability, ethnicity, or language.
This project is built upon the belief that NSRI women survivors and/or victims of DIPV deserve to be in charge of their own narrative, at their own time, and in their own way. However, our team is always ready to listen.