Recognizing the Problem
Spousal abuse is a problem experienced by many in the community. It has no social, financial, or cultural boundaries, and the Chinese community is no exception.
Traditionally, spousal abuse is thought to be a family problem, which should be deal without intervention from outsiders. This is understandably connected to the strong Chinese beliefs at family matters and be kept a secret, and a fear of losing face. However, social views of spousal violence have changed: it is now a crime with serious consequences.
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic Violence is defined as the intentional use of physical violence against your partner, with the goal of controlling and inducing fear.
Attempting to control your partner is often seen as a way to resolve problems that arise in a relationship. These behaviours may include the following:
Physical Abuse: This form of domestic violence is the most obvious and can include throwing objects at the other person, pushing, slapping, kicking, using or threatening to use of weapons, etc. Physical abuse may result in bruises, broken bones, permanent emotional scars and even death.
Physical and/or Emotional Abuse: This does not only refer to verbal arguments, but often includes acts such as threats of harm and death, isolation of the victim from family members and friends, and verbal battering to undermine the victim's sense of self-worth.
Economic Abuse: This includes forbidding your partner to work and maintaining absolute control over the use of financial resources. This is another method of abuse aimed at fostering dependency and control over your spouse.
Sexual Abuse: This form of abuse refers to any forced sexual act, including unwanted touching and marital rape.
Destruction of Property: Destroying, harming, or threatening to harm your spousal's cherished possessions or pets is another way of inflicting abuse and exercising control over the victim. It is also a method of expressing threats of similar personal harm to the victim.
Myths about Domestic Violence
Myth: When a man hits his partner, it's usually nothing serious - just a slap or a punch. It's a part of marital life which does not result in any punishment.
Fact: Studies of violent families show that violence escalates over time, becoming more intense and more frequent following a cycle of violence. Once it starts, it rarely happens only one time. The first beating is a dangerous sign.
Myth: Women often provoke the assault.
Fact: No one deserves to be beaten. Being violent is a choice that the batterer makes because of the desire to be in control. Abusive men often claim their partner provoked an assault to avoid responsibility for their own behaviour.
Myth: There are just as many women who batter as there are men.
Fact: Nearly all victims of serious abuse are women (93%).
Myth: Alcohol causes men to assault.
Fact: Alcohol can make it easier for a man to be violent. However, the real cause is the man's desire to control his partner. Not all men who drink become violent. Abusive men often use alcohol as an excuse to avoid taking personal responsibility for their violent behaviour.
IF YOU ARE HARMING YOUR PARTNER PHYSICALLY, EMOTIONALLY OR SEXUALLY...
Recognize that you have a problem that will only get worse if you don't do something to stop it.
Contact Chinese Family Services of Ontario for help at (416) 979-8299