The Person Center (TPC) is a project of Ujima and supports African immigrants who are experiencing or have experienced intimate partner violence, dating violence, or domestic violence, including sexual assault. TPC is the legacy of Dr. Amelia Missieledies, founder of The Person Center and tireless advocate who dedicated her life to helping women and children. Amelia passed away in 2018.
Our case managers provide free and confidential support to address the needs of survivors of domestic violence residing in Washington, DC in their first language. We offer training for community-based and faith-based organizations serving African immigrants. We advocate for just policies that address the unique needs of African immigrants and collaborate with advocacy groups for legislation that protects all survivors.
African immigrant survivors of intimate partner violence experience significant barriers in accessing mainstream services. These barriers tend to lie in three main areas: cultural beliefs and norms, characteristics of immigrant populations, and limitations in cultural competency.
- African immigrant women come from a range of sub-cultures that accept/support domestic violence to varying degrees.
- The African community often encourages more traditional means for resolving family issues and marital problems, such as pastoral intervention.
- Abuse is often viewed as any other marital problem, with both partners held accountable in a manner that excuses or even supports abusive husbands (Shetty and Kaguyutan).
- Immigrant victims may also fear possible arrest and deportation due to their illegal immigrant status, losing custody of their children, and/or exile from their communities.
- Survivors often have little to no information about the services available to them due to language proficiency, or to their relative newcomer status, particularly in neighborhoods where the immigrant population is changing.
- Language may serve as a barrier – students in DC speak over 30 African languages at home, but organizations don’t employ staff who can speak even one of these languages.
- And the ability of service providers to deliver effective services further depends on staff abilities to understand the cultural beliefs and norms of immigrants.
If you are in need or support or know someone who might benefit from our services, please consider calling us. We honor each survivors experience and are here to support you. You can reach us at (202) 299-1181.