Asian and Pacific Islanders Advocacy Considerations



Date of Publication
November, 2018

There are a great multitude of cultures and faiths that make up Asian and Pacific Islander communities. Ethnic identities that can be referenced in the aggregate (Southeast Asians) or disaggregated (Cambodians). Asians and Pacific Islanders are generally grouped by regions although some of these can be politically controversial. There is tremendous diversity, with Asia having more than 40 countries, and there are more ethnicities than countries (the Hmong are an ethnic group from Laos).

Asian diasporas are extremely large and ethnic identity oversimplifications do not apply. For example, people of Japanese origin in Brazil culturally identify as Brazilians, those of Chinese origin in Guatemala identify as Guatemalans; whereas hyphenated identities are more common in the U.S. as evidenced by terms like Asian American, or Korean American. It is also important to note that some Pacific Islands (Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, The Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas) experience the impacts of U.S. colonization comparable to Native Americans of the lower 48 states.

From Iranian to Indian to Filipino to Samoan — each culture, and communities within, have healing needs and ideas of justice that will be unique.

Barriers to Help-Seeking

Due to immigrant, refugee, and/or other historically marginalized identities, API survivors face barriers that are compounded by sociocultural factors such as economics (dependency on men as sole wage-earners in traditional families, low wage work for immigrant women), immigration status (e.g., threats of deportation and dependency on abusive family members), culture (e.g., tightly prescribed gender roles), religion (e.g., expectations to submit to male authority), systems failure (e.g., in providing interpreters), homophobia, victim-blaming communities, and limited English proficiency.1

Resources on Other Websites

More Information

Culturally Specific Sexual Assault Services in Washington State

Advocacy Tools

Notes and References

  1. Asian and Pacific Islander Survivors. (n.d.). Retrieved from