12.8.19 Domestic Violence Seminar
Written By: Robert Sun
Advisor: Julie Yang
In 2012 in Virginia alone,10,700 people were victims of domestic violence. Although these statistics seem to be the least concerning to many of us, the fact is that domestic violence can happen to anybody; and it can be quite sudden. Held by CAPA-MC, On December 8th of 2019, interested families gathered at Herbert Hoover Middle School to learn more about domestic violence. At the seminar, the audience was not only provided with a clear definition of domestic violence
but also received enlightenment on the wide range of support networks and resources for victims as well.
To kick off the seminar, Ms. April Yu, KCSC (Korean Community Service Center of Greater Washington, Domestic Violence Coordinator for the Chinese Community and keynote speaker), gave the audience a definition of domestic violence that encapsulated its core components. Domestic violence, is defined as violence in a household–includes conflicts with in-laws, siblings, parents, spouses, and children. While the word violence usually has a denotation of an act of physical abuse, domestic violence can be sexual, emotional, and verbal.
Common Traits of Domestic Violence
In many instances, domestic violence scenarios vary in its extent and context. However, there are similarities for how domestic violence cases originate and the interactions between the victim and abuser. A common pattern for domestic violence as Ms. Yu explained is what is known as “power control” where the abuser seeks to gain full control over its victim. Power control can be achieved in many different ways. Whether it is preventing someone from leaving the house, telling someone they are worthless, verbal threats, or an act of physical abuse, the abuser is trying to impede a victim’s self control and have them surrender all their freedom.
“Domestic violence usually doesn’t happen for no reason,” says Ms. Yu. “In most cases, there are external factors that explain many origins for domestic violence in a household. Sometimes, language impairment and citizenship status can be the source for domestic violence. For example, one client Ms. Yu worked with was an immigrant who came to America. It was no surprise that her client had problems with English–her husband being the only exception. Due to these language problems, Ms. Yu’s client had been deceived by her husband to sign an inequitable form. Unfortunately, she had no power to relinquish her actions, because she was worried about a threat that leaving her husband would prevent her chances from obtaining citizenship. As a result, Ms. Yu’s client was victimized by her husband; constantly struggling to break free from her unhealthy marriage. This story highlighted how the client’s foreign background–an external factor– led her into a situation of domestic violence. Families with a weak socioeconomic status, or suffer from substance abuse are more prone to experience cases of domestic violence.
Domestic violence can often have some misconceptions, which Ms. Yu hoped to clarify. Regarding myths about domestic violence, Ms. Yu pointed out a few key points to remember:
Regarding the issue of domestic violence, the window for potential victims is unbiased. It can apply to anyone regardless of race, gender, or social status.
A severe issue that occurs when leaving an abusive relationship is known as the “denial loop”. The denial loop is when an abuser denies or apologizes for an act of abuse, hoping to reestablish peace between the victim. However despite how benevolent the abuser is when apologizing, the usual outcome is that the abuse will relapse again in the future. This “cycle” is a main reason why it can be difficult for a victim to leave a relationship, especially if they are naive enough to follow this cycle.
Domestic violence with a spouse or anyone else is completely different from arguing with each other. In an argument, both sides are able to express their opinions. Due to “power control (see Common Traits of Domestic Violence ¶1) there is almost no possibility where the expression of opinions will be mutual.
“What’s most important for a victim of domestic abuse is that they seek the help that they need,” says Ms. Yu. Fortunately, resources such as KCSC (see Background) provide an ample amount of services for victims who seek aid and counseling. Ranging from complimentary English classes for clients, mental health therapy, job application counseling, and legal clinics, KCSC makes an effort to set up their clients for success. “We want to hope to let them know there are lots of resources for them,” Ms. Yu tells CAPA-JRC. We give them tons of resources and support to ensure our clients have a better future and are self-sufficient after leaving the relationship.”
From the Heart
Talking about domestic violence is a challenging and indeed a sensitive topic. Yet there are still parts of the community who aren’t properly educated about the issue. Following the event, Ms. Yu hopes her efforts can continue to improve the community knowledge and raise awareness of domestic violence in the Asian community. No one deserves to be a victim of domestic violence. “The main reason why I do these things is to restore injustice for victims and remedy the unfortunate situations they face,” says Ms. Yu.
Just like it’s written in KCSC’s brochure, as a victim of domestic violence, “You are not alone.” There will always be someone there to support and guide you towards a brighter future. These compassionate people are the ones who are your true family.
This article was provided by Chinese American Parents Association Junior Reporter Club (CAPA JRC) with members who interviewed, audio recorded, wrote, translated, and video recorded. CAPA JRC has 19 Montgomery County middle to high school students. They have created a bilingual platform delivering news and serving the community.