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Homes: Hidden crime scenes

(People's Daily)

15:52, November 04, 2011

Edited and translated by People's Daily Online

Beijing, Nov.4 (People's Daily Online) --Family violence has no regard for social stratum or educational background, and it is usually hidden, persistent, periodical and cruel. Most victims do not ask the law or other for help until they have suffered family violence 24.3 times on average.

The Li Yang Family Violence Incident has made some people recall Dong Shanshan, the victim of severe family violence. Three years ago, the 25-year-old Beijing girl Dong Shanshan married 26-year-old Beijing boy Wang Guangyu.

At that time, Dong's marriage seemed to be very happy in the eyes of Dong's mother. The son-in-law was a manager of a trade company who drove a BMW car, and it seemed he was tender and kind to her daughter. The astonishing fact was that her husband beat her daughter to death within a year after they married.

"In the opinion of Chinese people, family violence is usually connected with poor educational background, and victims of the violence are usually labeled weak-spirited traditional women," said Wang Xingjuan, the founder of the Maple Women's Psychological Counseling Center Beijing.

Wang said that this viewpoint is actually a misunderstanding. According to surveys by many domestic and foreign organizations, a tendency toward domestic violence is closely connected with an individual's developmental environment and especially his family but has nothing to do with his educational background.

"Domestic violence occurs in families of every class, and it is possible in both white-collar and blue-collar households," Wang said. The high incidence of domestic violence nationwide in both poor and rich families has become a severe social problem in China.

"The actual situation may be more serious than it appears because victims themselves tend to conceal domestic abuse," Wang said. Due to the desire to maintain their marriages and other factors, many female victims of domestic violence tend to remain silent, which makes their houses "hidden crime scenes" and leads to a phenomenon where the violent outbursts scene are only the tip of the iceberg.

Statistics have shown that most victims of domestic violence seek legal help only after suffering domestic abuse 24.3 times on average. Less than 14 percent of the victims seek help after suffering abuse less than 10 times.

Wang said that after being physically and mentally abused over an extended period, certain female victims realize their inability to stop their husbands' violence and become increasingly passive, obedient, helpless and depressed.

At last, they cannot stand it anymore, and will either kill themselves or their husbands. This is the "battered woman syndrome" first introduced by American psychologist Lenore Walker. Statistics showed that more than 50 percent of female prisoners in China have suffered domestic violence and fought back. According to related research, children from homes where domestic violence occurs are 600 times more likely to become new abusers.

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