Assault confession spurs call for more helplines
Updated: 2011-09-16 08:41
By Zhao Yanrong (China Daily)
A week after it was revealed that Li Yang, the founder of Li Yang Crazy English and China's most famous English teacher, had assaulted his American wife, a domestic violence expert is calling for more social services for foreign wives in China.
Feng Yuan, director of the Anti-Domestic Violence Network, a Beijing-based NGO, says the government should create telephone lines, or hotlines, to be used in a crisis involving domestic violence.
"We don't even have any hotlines provided for foreign wives (who are experiencing) domestic violence, (especially) when the number of cross-cultural marriage have continued to increase in recent years," Feng says. She says that many police officers take public security cases more seriously than cases of domestic abuse. In most judicial cases, charges against domestic violence are rarely presented.
This past weekend Li admitted he had abused his wife, Kim Lee, and apologized on his micro blog. The apology came a week after his wife posted pictures of her bruised head and knees on the Internet.
The photos of the attack have not only prompted widespread condemnation of Li but have highlighted the fact that domestic violence is very much a hush-hush issue in China, especially among high-income urban families.
Domestic violence occurs in 30 percent of 270 million Chinese families, with more than 85 percent of victims are women, according to the All-China Women's Federation in 2007.
Wang Xingjuan, founder of the Maple Women's Psychological Counseling Center, a nonprofit organization, says nearly half of the offenders of domestic violence are people who have higher education and well-paid jobs.
Nonetheless, domestic violence exists across many income levels and education backgrounds in China, Feng says.
"Domestic violence does not only happen in low income families and less educated families," she says.
Feng says many domestic violence hotlines are being used in Hong Kong and Taiwan in many languages but not in the mainland.
"With domestic violence on the mainland being more frequently reported, the hotlines are very necessary," she adds.
The former professor at the the Center for Women's Studies at Shantou University says that in order to encourage domestic violence victims to speak out against abuse, China needs more legal rights against domestic violence.
She pointed that foreign wives are not only from developed countries, but from other less developed countries around China. Most of them are not able to provide for themselves financially and they easily become victims of domestic abuse.
"Without speaking proper Chinese, these foreign wives do not have a way to seek help after they are abused at home," Feng said. "Chinese authorities should cooperate with NGOs to provide more specific support for them."
(China Daily 09/16/2011 page3)
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