Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1542162
 


 



Pulling the Trigger: Separation Violence as a Basis for Refugee Protection for Battered Women


Marisa Silenzi Cianciarulo


Chapman University, The Dale E. Fowler School of Law

Claudia David


affiliation not provided to SSRN

December 1, 2009

American University Law Review, Vol. 59, No. 2, p. 337, 2009
Chapman University Law Research Paper No. 10-01

Abstract:     
For over a decade, women seeking asylum from persecution inflicted by their abusive husbands and partners have found little protection in the United States. During that time, domestic violence-based asylum cases have languished in limbo, been denied, or occasionally been granted in unpublished opinions that have not provided a much-needed adjudicative standard. The main case setting forth the pre-Obama approach to domestic violence-based asylum is rife with misunderstanding of the nature of domestic violence and minimization of the role that society plays in the proliferation of domestic violence. Fortunately, however, a recent Obama-administration legal brief indicates that women fleeing countries where governments are unable or unwilling to protect them from their abusive husbands finally may be able to avail themselves of U.S. asylum law. This article proposes a workable standard for adjudicating such claims. Based in part on psychological research on the dynamics of abusive relationships, particularly the phenomenon known as “separation violence,” this article formulates a particular social group that satisfies the various legal elements for political asylum: “women who have left severely abusive relationships.” This social group is based on research demonstrating that abusers strike out with increased violence when their partners leave the relationships, in many cases even killing them. This article explores the dynamics of abusive relationships, the failure of U.S. adjudicators to understand those dynamics, and the application of international human rights law to domestic violence survivors.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 49

Keywords: refugee, asylum, domestic violence, intimate partner violence, battered women, international law, immigration law, persecution

JEL Classification: K33

Accepted Paper Series





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Date posted: January 27, 2010 ; Last revised: February 17, 2010

Suggested Citation

Cianciarulo, Marisa Silenzi and David, Claudia, Pulling the Trigger: Separation Violence as a Basis for Refugee Protection for Battered Women (December 1, 2009). American University Law Review, Vol. 59, No. 2, p. 337, 2009; Chapman University Law Research Paper No. 10-01. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1542162

Contact Information

Marisa Silenzi Cianciarulo (Contact Author)
Chapman University, The Dale E. Fowler School of Law ( email )
One University Drive
Orange, CA 92866-1099
United States
714 628 2612 (Phone)
Claudia David
affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )
Feedback to SSRN


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