Monday, May 23, 2016

No Longer To Be Hidden

Families are faced with many problems, and domestic violence is one of them. Kyeongyang magazine has in its recent issue a number of articles on Domestic Violence: a sin and a crime.

The writer is a woman who has  been working as a social worker and counselor with one of the dioceses helping families. She begins the article with the story of a woman who lived with an abusive husband and mentioned how before marriage some of the signs were present during the period of courtship, but she didn't recognize them.

After being out with him for an evening, he would always be attentive in her getting home  without mishap, and she saw this as kindness and concern. When she wore a short skirt,  he would complain, and she saw this as his  ardent nature. She accepted everything as signs of his love: a person who was strong, and she could  trust  but after marriage,  she realized that it wasn't love but extreme possessiveness and jealousy: lacking trust in her faithfulness to him.  

He would beat her on coming home from work routinely. He would bring up a relationship she had for a short period of time with a boyfriend, after  mentioning  it to him, and it would often come up in conversations. He even brought this up when she gave birth to their first child without reason and out of the  blue: "this is my child isn't it?"  His verbal abuse was hard to accept. She would be hit without reason, even in the most common everyday issues  communication was missing, put briefly all was hell.

One day, he didn't return home after work; she received a call  from him early that morning to come out to where he was. He was in his car, and she began to fear for her life. He began beating her, abusing her sexually, and she  broke away and ran to the nearest house which happened to be a rectory unbeknown to her. The priest brought her to a shelter. Her face was swollen,  broken bones and nose; it took some time to recover her former appearance.

They were a young virtuous  couple who were envied by those that knew them. She was 33 years old and a member of a research team in a large enterprise, and the husband worked for a big company.  Who would believe that an  attractive  educated  and professionally qualified mother with two children would be the victim of domestic abuse?

From 1998, there has been a law on the books to prevent this kind of domestic abuse, but most have not paid much attention and  has remained a family problem. The present government sees it as  crime.  More than twice in a period of three years,  perpetrators  may be confined to prison. If the victim  does not want the confinement, he will have to attend a program, and will be given a stay of prosecution.

According to one agency in 2014,  69 women were killed by their spouses and 57 were nearly killed. With this 57, family members and friends were also killed or injured. These are the ones that have been reported. In 2013, less than 1 percent have asked for help in domestic violence incidents.

In 2014, the women's family bureau reported about  48,000 cases of domestic violence, the previous year 38,000  were reported. For the last three years, there has been on  average 562 cases reported daily. The main reason for not separating is the children. However, studies show that it is better for the raising of children to leave this situation for their emotional health. Children living in these situations show uneasiness, depression and anti-social-behavior.  

Many women find finances a reason they can't leave.  Beatings have taken away their self-confidence:  "they are not capable of anything." A woman who has been abused for many years has a feeling of powerlessness and without the help of others they find  leaving the situation difficult.