Saturday, August 3, 2019

Violence Against Women in Korea

Both Catholic Weeklies had stories on violence against women. Social media spotlighted the problem with the abuse of a migrant woman by her husband. Revealed to the public, it ignited the indignation of many of the South Koreans and a desire to do something. 

Since Korean women are not anxious to go to the farming areas of the country, many of the farmers look for brides from other countries. Language and culture are mostly to blame for the domestic violence in these cases.

There is a saying that you don't strike another with flowers: meaning violence can never be justified. The images on the social media showing the woman being assaulted by her husband in front of her child were difficult to view for many. The voice of criticism was loud but society has still to deal with the situation.

Patriarchy and drinking are reasons given for the frequency but we also have the attitude of the citizens which may have something to do with the problem. Nearly one in five women in Korea say that a husband may be justified in hitting or beating his wife compared with one in thirteen women in OECD countries on average.

The Seoul Catholic Women's Welfare Council discussed the issue on the 30th anniversary of its founding. The topic was the 'actual state of economic independence of women leaving domestic violence centers, and measures necessary'.

A survey made on the situation with 149 victims who had left the centers was reviewed. According to the results, 60.4 % of the victims were divorced. Others were in the process of divorcing or living separated  from their husbands. Many had economic difficulties after leaving the facility. Housing problems were the biggest. Finding employment was not easy. Women also have emotional and psychological difficulties; anxiety they will face violence again is present.

Group homes provided by the government number about 30% of the facilities at present. Those who need such facilities are many; the need is greater then what society has at present.

Paying for housing was the biggest problem that all the age groups had even of those in their 60s or older. After release from the facilities providing support was most helpful. During the time in these facilities help in finding work with vocational training programs was seen as necessary.

Over 64 % have not received any aid whatsoever.  And this according to those who know the situation means that many have to go back to where they suffered the abuse. Without a safe place to go independence will be impossible.

The Church needs to extend its work for those who need help. This will be an area in which other church communities, organizations, and society as a whole will need to be involved.

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