Term Paper: Domestic Violence &amp Its Effects Reason

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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE & ITS EFFECTS

Reason why people left their own home (country)

General idea about domestic violence/welfare and API

Domestic Violence Specific to API Women - Vietnamese

Distinguishing dynamics

Meaning of physical abuse

Abusive community norms

Negative Effects on the community

Language as well as culture

Mental health

Issues of Family & child rearing

Question & Answer for Immigrant and Refugee Women

You have a right to be free from violence in your own home.

Confront the problem of resettlement.

The different individuals deal with their heritage and create a new life for themselves in a country that is not always welcoming them.

Domestic Violence and Its Effects

This paper analyzes domestic violence against Asian-American women. Specifically, it discusses domestic violence among Asian-Americans in the United States.

Domestic violence is an important problem facing all sectors of American society, but few studies have been conducted on the Asian-American sector, even though it seems prevalent in some Asian-American settlements throughout the country. For example, in California's Silicon Valley, 18% of the population is Asian-American, but Asian-Americans comprised 31% of deaths by domestic violence in that community. In addition, in Massachusetts in 1992, Asians made up only 2.4% of the population, but made up 13% of the women and child fatalities in domestic violence disputes (Wong, et al. 137). Clearly, domestic violence is common, or even pervasive, in many Asian-American communities. Why is this so? Is it the clash of cultures that occurs when Asian-Americans settle in the United States? Is it because of other compelling factors that have not been studied? There are many reasons that any person engages in domestic violence. Asian-Americans may be more prone to it for several reasons, which this document will attempt to explore and define.

Asian-Americans have immigrated to the United States for over a century, and for a variety of reasons. In the 1985s, many Chinese immigrants came to America to better themselves and to escape poverty in China. Many of them went to work in the goldfields of California and the West, or worked on the transcontinental railroad. These immigrants eventually established settlements in many of America's largest cities, and today, immigrants continue to pour into the United States for a number of reasons, from personal freedom to refugee status. In addition, many female Asian immigrants may have had little choice in the matter of immigration. Their husbands may have desired immigration, and they simply had to leave their homes and immigrate with their family. Many Asian immigrants have difficulty assimilating in their new homes for a variety of reasons, from cultural to language barriers and more. People immigrate for a variety of reasons, and some of those immigrants who have come to America may not be happy with their choice, or with the culture they are asked to blend into. Therefore, they may begin to have domestic disputes and quarrels that lead to more disputes and even violence.

Domestic violence is widespread in the United States, and widespread among Asian-American women. Studies indicate that some form of domestic abuse occurs in one out of two marital relationships (Rimonte 328). Researchers estimate that domestic abuse involves at least 2 million married Americans each year. The number rises even more when researchers add in the numbers of abusive non-married and gay couples (Hamberger and Renzetti xi). As the numbers indicate, domestic abuse can occur in any relationship, from male-female to gay and lesbian. In the American community, many of these abusive relationships go unreported, and the same is true of the Asian community. Most abusers have a pattern of abuse as children, or are prone to violent and/or antisocial behavior. In fact, many abusers have much in common with violent criminals. Many research studies have found that a greater part of domestic abusers have psychological disorders. These researchers note, "The most frequently reported [psychological disorders] are the borderline, antisocial, and compulsive personality disorders and [...] the violence-prone personality" (Hamberger & Renzetti, 1996 xii-xiii). In addition, it is common for abusers to come from abusive homes; they simply repeat the violent patterns they learned as children. Most of these studies have been conducted on the general American community, it is only recently that studies have occurred with any depth in the Asian-American community, and so, the numbers on abusive relationships in this community as a whole are still being complied.

There are a number of options open to American women who are victims of domestic abuse, from police support to social workers and even safe houses where they can remain anonymously, safe from violent husbands. Many women do not report domestic abuse for a number of reasons, and so even the numbers for American women may be skewed, because the true number of abuse cases may never be known. However, more American women are likely to seek help from outside sources than Asian-American women are.

Vietnamese women are especially vulnerable to domestic violence for some reason, and several studies indicate that domestic abuse is prevalent in many Asian homes. The Massachusetts study indicated that 72% of Vietnamese female respondents were hit by their parents on a regular basis when they were children. In addition, 39% know a woman who has been abused or injured by an abuser. Even more telling is the fact that most Vietnamese believe the man "has the right to discipline his wife, can expect sex whenever he wants it, is the ruler of his home, or that wives deserve beatings" (Yoshioka and Dang 25). This is in contrast to many other Asian groups, who do not have as high percentages in either of these categories. Vietnamese women tend to be the most subservient of Asian women, even more than Korean women are. They may initially fight back and argue with their husbands, but usually, this only exacerbates the eventual abuse.

Many distinguishing dynamics affect female victims of domestic violence and make them especially unwilling to report the abuse to authorities or even friends or family members who might be able to help. Many victims hope for change. Often the abusive partner will promise never to abuse again, and seek forgiveness, and the victim will believe them and hope they will change because they love them. Some abusers use fear to intimidate their victims. They threaten them or their children with harm or even death. In addition, many victims feel as if they have failed somehow, and they blame themselves for bringing on the abuse, and that they are the ones who need to change to make the abuser stop abusing them (Wong, et al. 138). These dynamics are common to almost all victims of domestic violence, but there are even more barriers and dynamics for the Asian-American woman in a violent relationship. These barriers include "culture, economics, immigration status, and social structures" (Wong, et al. 138), and they can have a great deal to do with Asian-American women not reporting violence and abuse in their homes.

In the Asian-American culture, much emphasis is placed on fate. Many victims may feel they have somehow brought on the abuse, but many women may also believe that the abuse is somehow fated, and they are supposed to be in this situation for some reason or destiny. In addition, abuse is often seen as a forbidden subject, and so Asian-American women are not willing to discuss it or bring it out into the open. Many Asian-American women may also have fears of losing their immigration status if they leave their husbands. In addition, most Asian-American women do not work outside the home, and so, if they leave their abusive relationships, they have little way of supporting themselves and their children. These dynamics keep many women in abusive relationships because they see no other way out. In addition, many men may actually capitalize on these dynamics, keeping their wives isolated from friends, family, and anyone else who might be able to help them in their hour of need. Thus, they maintain their control and their ability to dominate their wife and their family.

In many Asian marriages, the meaning of physical abuse is more representative of oppression and domination. Males in Asian society are taught to be in charge leaders, who rule their homes and their families. Thus, their behavior is not seen as abusive, but normal for the leader of a family. In addition, most people who abuse their victims do so to remain in control and to have dominance over a partner. It is important to remember that in the Asian culture, the man's rights are often seen as the most important in the family, and so, many Asian women may not perceive they are being abused, they may see their treatment as absolutely normal in Asian society. They may not understand the negative connotation that physical and even mental abuse holds in this country, and they may not recognize they are being mistreated. Thus, the meaning of physical abuse may be different to them than it is to others in the community.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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