VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IN NORTH AMERICA_ University Health Network, University of Toronto, Canada_ IN WORLD PSYCHIATRY

Despite the public perception of women’s autonomy and power in North America, many women live with violence, abuse, and discrimination. Domestic violence, particularly wife abuse, remains a hidden social problem with physical and mental health sequelae. Even less recognized is violence toward marginalized women the homeless addicted, incarcerated and mentally ill. Mail-order brides, exotic dancers, sex trade workers, illegal immigrants and impoverished women may live in violent environments with little opportunity to escape. Increasing globalization and poverty in South East Asia, East ern Europe and Latin America brings many women to North America in search of a new and better life. Instead, some find themselves trapped in violent spirals and slip into demoralization and depression. The role of mental health professionals in assisting these women to disclose their situations, seek appropriate services from legal social, medical and mental health services, and combat institutionalized sexism will be addressed. The principles and examples of mental health treatment for women living in violent environments will be the focus of this presentation.

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