Domestic Violence in South Asian Communities in the GTA: Critical Perspectives of Community Activists and Service Providers

  • Purnima George School of Social Work, Ryerson University
  • Mariam Rashidi School of Social Work, Ryerson University


Domestic violence can be said to exist because of the creation of what Razack terms a “violent space” (2003, p. 20).  This space may be erected within marriage not only because of the patriarchal nature of a culture, but also because of the numerous ways women are marginalized by the dominant culture, and their lack of formal or informal support networks (Razack, 2003). This article complicates this understanding of violent space by highlighting the structural and institutional violence South Asian families experience as racialized immigrants in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) of Canada. This article illuminates circumstances in which the violent space of home and community become a place of shelter, acceptance and identity. The article argues for the need for incorporating a critical analysis and a response to structural and institutional violence and its impact on women while addressing domestic violence in South Asian communities in the GTA.