This paper examines the role of culture in shaping perceptions, definitions, and interpretations Mexican American and Anglo American women hold of domestic abuse. Two theoretical views concerning perceptions that Mexican Americans may hold of domestic abuse are discussed. The first view suggests that Mexican American women follow a pluralist model and therefore differ significantly in their perceptions of domestic abuse from Anglo American women. The second position holds that Mexican American women are quickly becoming assimilated into the American mainstream and consequently share attitudes toward domestic abuse similar to those of Anglo American women. Interviews were conducted with women living in shelters for battered women in 1986. The findings suggest that for Mexican American women, cultural pluralism, rather than assimilation, may be the norm in understanding their perceptions of domestic abuse.

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