Domestic violence casts an ugly shadow

Updated: 2011-11-17 08:11

By Jiang Xueqing and He Dan (China Daily)

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Domestic violence casts an ugly shadow

Photo shows spousal abuse in China in the past years. [Photos provided to China Daily]

About a quarter of Chinese women abused by husbands, Jiang Xueqing and He Dan report in Beijing.

It never occurred to Li Wei that her second marriage would collapse, and be even uglier than the first. The "reliable, honest and loving" husband she had been looking for turned out to be an ill-tempered bully who beat her repeatedly over nine months.

"You can't imagine what I've suffered," the 45-year-old said between sobs, tears streaming down her face.

About 25 percent of Chinese women have been abused by their spouses, verbally and physically, including having their freedom restricted and raped.

The All-China Women's Federation and the National Bureau of Statistics released the figure on Oct 21 following a national survey of 105,573 people aged 18 and over and 20,405 teenagers aged between 10 and 17.

Most of the victims could not prove the abuse in court during divorce hearings because evidence is difficult to produce, experts said.

After her first marriage failed, Li quit her job as a government employee in Linyi, Shandong province, and sold her three apartments for more than 900,000 yuan ($141,700). She moved to Beijing, fleeing her unhappy past.

Soon she was introduced to Fan Changlin, a 52-year-old Beijing native who also was divorced. She married him a year later, in December 2008, and moved into his dilapidated, eight-room courtyard house north of the Fragrant Hills.

As her husband was also unemployed, Li spent more than 230,000 yuan of her own money to renovate their home, at his request. The work was finished in April 2009, and Fan wrote an agreement granting the house to Li as a gift.

A month later, Fan's ex-wife suddenly showed up, claiming she had been given one of the rooms in their divorce settlement, and moved in. From then on, Fan's attitude toward Li changed entirely.

She said he started beating her savagely with whatever was at hand - sneakers, wooden sticks, iron hammers - and caused injuries including arthritis of the knees and narrowing of the lumbar spinal canal.

Whoever tried to stop him would be threatened. Once during a fight, he put a kitchen knife to the throat of a neighbor who came to help her, Li said.

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