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Domestic Violence in Different Ethnicity

By:
Tam Nguyen

Abstract
Domestic violence is a serious problem of every country in the world. There are five
types of domestic violence: physical abuse, emotional abuse, financial abuse, sexual abuse, and
spiritual abuse. These types of domestic violence have different perspective views depend on the
cultures and tradition of each ethnic group. According the Fearless Love, Death for Dignity:
Female Suicide and Gendered Subjectivity in Rural North China by Hyeon Jung Lee, the custom
of bride-wealth in rural Hebei, in which parents negotiate how much money the grooms side has
to pay the brides parents, contributes to the construction of the female body as a commodity that
can be traded between two families. From then, she belongs to her husbands family, the have the
right to decide her fate good or bad, even living or death. The result is her husband and his
whole families treat her as a slave to pay for her debt, the money that they paid for engagement
gifts. Most of girls get married at 15 years old to their husbands. Families need them as a major

work force on the rice fields, servants of their husbands and parents, taking care of children.
Furthermore, they always have to endure harsh punishments from their husbands, so they often
die young. In order to cover up the brutality of the domestic violence, the whole ethnic is
indoctrinated by the theory of a wifes obedience is the highest and finest womans dignity. In
response to the increasing number of cases in domestic violence, we will explore several laws
around the world to have a better understand on how different governments from different
countries are doing to protect victims. For example: During the 1970s, the United States passed
the law call Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA 1974) to help protect the
young victims of domestic violence. Laws like the CAPTA save lives of children suffered from
domestic violence. This happens in a wealthy country as the U.S.A where there is a good justice
system to enforce the law and high educated people. We can imagine how many children die
every day in the third world countries because of child abuse and neglect.

Like many problems facing humanities, domestic violence is still a major challenge
today. There are five types of domestic violence: physical abuse, emotional abuse, financial
abuse, sexual abuse, and spiritual abuse. In fact, sometimes it is very difficult to make a clear cut
what kind of variety is accepted as domestic violence, because under the influence of tradition,
society relationship, political doctrine, moralities, and religions each of the ethnic groups support
or oppose any varieties of domestic violence differently. In Fearless Love, Death for Dignity:
Female Suicide and Gendered Subjectivity in Rural North China by Hyeon Jung Lee, Jung Lee
research several months in different villages around the world. Jung Lee talks with several
villagers to find out their tradition. In many villages like Quianjian Village, several baby girls
were sold or given to infertile couples, supported by the local religious belief that adopting an
abandoned girl will bring an infertile couple a baby boy. (Lee 31) This example proves that in
Chinese tradition, they were taught the womans value is below the value of men. As they grow
up and getting ready for marriage, the custom of bride-wealth in rural Heibei, in which parents
negotiate how much money the grooms side is to pay for the brides parents, contributes to the
construction of the female body as a commodity that can be traded between two families (Lee
31) This example shows in the part of China, the woman does not treat as a human rather than
they are treated like an object that can be traded or sale between both families. After the
marriage, the women become the property of the guys and the women is expected to serve three
principal purposes: to satisfy her husbands sexual desires, to carry on the family by producing a
son, and to provide the family with labor for daily jobs such as childcare, housework and field
work. (Lee 32) In this research, there is a 40 years old female named Mei. During her marriage,
her husband beats her every day because she was not doing the three things that she was
supposed to do. As the result, she attempted to kill herself but it was unsuccessful. Like other

women in the domestic violence situation, Mei believes the only way to get rid of all the
suffering and pain is to kill them. Due to this belief, China has the highest suicide rate in any
countries in the world. Chinas estimated suicide rate varies significantly (ranging between 13.9
and 28.7 per 100,000 depending on the data resource) but is substantially higher than the world
average (10.7 per 100,000): China has 21 per cent of the worlds population, but 44 per cent of
the worlds total suicides (Lee 26). Furthermore, we have to mention that China today the
combining of the one child policy of Communist political purpose and tradition of disrespect
women; that make Chinese get rid of baby girls. In the old time, to serve mens sexual desire,
women were bound their feet to make them very small and couldnt walk so women were
imprisoned at their husbands homes. Vivian Magero, 23, was nine when she narrowly escaped
female genital mutilation (FGM), also referred to as female circumcision. (Sharma) But in a lot
of Africa countries, they still practice female genital mutilation, and there are around 125 million
girls severely injured or infection or bleeding to death. They praise that they keep their tradition
but in fact its only purpose is to make man control over woman.
While in Africa, the cultures of Somali are different from the research of Jung Lee about the
tradition of rural villagers in China. In the Threatened Identities and Gendered Opportunities:
Somali Migration to America by Cawo Mohamed Abdi, the author gives readers understanding
about the tradition and the social status of women in the Somali culture. For example: Many
accounts of how horrified Somali men became once they learned that American social services
practice of

putting womens names in families welfare files. Hence, Somali mens

underemployment or unemployment, exacerbated by the significant financial solicitations from


families stuck in conflict ridden Somalia, leads to their inability to support their families with
their wages alone and consequently triggers a sense of disempowerment. Their core sense of
male identity as family providers is shaken by their migrant status and the welfare and labor

market regimes in their new settlement.Somali men insist on womens deference, as the
material basis that previously might have guaranteed this evaporated with migration. (Abdi)
Like many other cultures, the men are in charge of his family. When many Somalis family
comes to America, their ideology and tradition are fused with the Americans culture. In this
culture, women are allowed to go to work in order to provide support for their family. Due to the
challenge of the traditional ways, there has been an increasing number of Somalian ethnic cases
file in the United States court about domestic abuse.
Many countries create and enforce laws to stop the alarming number of people involve
with different types of domestic violence. Laws like the CAPTA (Child Abuse Prevention and
Treatment Act) of 1974. Under this law, it provides federal funding to states in support for a
variety of things include prevention, investigation, prosecution, and treatment activities. It
provides grant to both public and nonprofit agencies to help reduce the number of cases involve
domestic violence. It provides support for research, technical assistance, evaluation, and data
collection activities by public and nonprofit agencies. To make a step further to protect all
genders victim of the domestic violence spectrum, the United States government passed the
Violence against Women Act (VAWA). It was the first law to provide additional help and
collaboration between government agencies and the victims to work together to put the end to all
types of domestic violence. However, in this modern day, there many gray line when define a
person experiencing domestic violence or not.
In Offenses of Sex or Violence? Consent, Fraud, and HIV Transmission by Sharon
Cowan, the author examined several cases involving in sexual abuse which is a type of domestic
violence. For example: in the case of Nova Scotia Court of Appeal case, Rv. Hutchinson, where
the accused deliberately sabotaged condoms in the hope that his partner would get pregnant,
notwithstanding her explicit wish to avoid pregnancy. He was subsequently convicted of

aggravated sexual assault. (Cowan 156) The case was brought up to the Nova Scotia Court. The
judge found that there was consent from the girlfriend and rules in favor of the boyfriend. In fact,
its very difficult to make an exact decision in some domestic violences, and sometimes there
appear new variety of domestic violence when human societies become more complex.

Works Cited
Abdi, Cawo Mohamed. "Threatened Identities And Gendered Opportunities: Somali Migration
To America." Signs 2 (2014): 459. Academic OneFile. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.
Cowan, Sharon. "Offenses Of Sex Or Violence? Consent, Fraud, And HIV Transmission." New
Criminal Law Review 17.(2014): 135. LexisNexis Academic: Law Reviews. Web. 18
Apr. 2014.
Carpenter, Belinda. "Harm, Responsibility, Age, And Consent." New Criminal Law Review 17.
(2014): 23. LexisNexis Academic: Law Reviews. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.
Hyeon Jung, Lee. "Fearless Love, Death for Dignity: Female Suicide and Gendered Subjectivity
in Rural North China." China Journal 71 (2014): 25-42. Political Science Complete. Web.
18 Apr. 2014.
Sanchita, Sharma. "Cruel Cut: Female Circumcision in East Africa - Hindustan
Times." Http://www.hindustantimes.com/. Hindustan Times, 26 June 2012. Web. 18 Apr.
2014.