Women: main target of xenophobic hate attacks

Women, main target of xenophobic hate attacks

Muslim, Asian and Latina women are the main victims of xenophobic attacks in the United States, in the context of the increase in hate crimes against immigrants. 

Experts convened by Ethnic Media Services They claim that this is not a new phenomenon, but has historical roots. 

Hate crimes against Muslims predate the september 11. Women (76.7%) are more likely than men (58.6%) to experience Islamophobia,? explains Basima Sisemore, a researcher with the Othering & Belonging Institute's Global Justice Program.

One of the main reasons why Muslim women are targeted is because they are more easily identifiable and therefore become easy prey. That is, the dress, ornaments, the hijab, distinguishes them immediately. 

Such a culture is perceived as opposed to Western ideals and, furthermore, there is the idea that Muslims are against democratic values. But what are Western ideals or democratic values," Sisemore asks. 

Research from the Othering & Belonging Institute's Global Justice Program addresses issues related to Islamophobia, human rights, and exclusionary practices that disenfranchise immigrants, refugees, and communities of color.

Elsadig Elsheikh, director of the program explains, "Islamophobia makes it difficult for Muslims to relate to other Muslims. This is due to persecution: younger people hide their religious identity. More than 9 out of 10 women (91.8%) censor their speech or actions for fear of people's response or reaction, and attract violence against them?

The media contributes to the idea of "otherness" by reinforcing the premise that Muslim women "lag behind" their male counterparts. How to report Muslim culture correctly? It is important to let Muslims speak for themselves. The same goes for all ethnicities and cultures, the media must allow groups to speak for themselves. 

In the case of the West, Elsheikh explains, ?there is a multiplicity of countries and ethnicities. There are Arabs who are not Muslims, and not all Muslims are Arabs? 

In the case of Asian women, according to Helen Zia, activist and author of the book Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American PeopleThe "increase in hate crimes against Asian-American women is clearly related to COVID-19 and intensified by our former president. Out of nine thousand incidents in the last year, more than 60 percent have been against women, especially Asian girls? 

The latest reports of attacks on Asian women is really nothing new. It is a problem that has rather been invisibilized and ignored. 

Why are women being attacked? 

Those who make racist attacks against people of color have always claimed that the victims are "less than human," so women are even more expendable...therefore there is a double, triple jeopardy for them. 

They are also less likely to report because they are diminished and blamed. They may even face stigmatization when reporting. Social institutions do not treat women of colour well. They are not taken seriously and are not treated with respect," explains Zia. 

According to experts at the conference convened by EMS, the sexualization of women of color plays a role in the incidents. 

Penthouse took a picture of a young Asian girl in BSDM; two months later a little Asian girl was found dead in the same position the magazine had shown the model. In the case of the little girl, she had been raped, tortured, tied up, hanged and lynched," says Zia. 

Something similar happens with Latin women: they are hypersexualized. 

Immigrant women, in particular, have faced many forms of violence from their home countries and seek refuge here. Many have been victims of sex trafficking, and sometimes they fall into human trafficking here," explains Irene de Barraicua, Director of Operations and Public Relations Manager of Líderes Campesinas, an association that represents the culmination of decades of work by women farmworkers. 

Líderes Campesinas provides these activists with a support system against domestic violence, sexual harassment, opportunities to coordinate their work statewide, and has created collectives so that farmworker women can become agents of change and be a more effective unified voice.

Latina women are sexualized, and fear of deportation and retaliation make them more susceptible to violence and sexual abuse. In addition, a high number of women who live in poverty are often the first to be laid off when there are job cuts, as happened during the pandemic. In addition, they are unable to seek care because of institutionalized violence. It's a form of modern-day slavery," said de Barraicua. 

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