How big a problem is domestic violence in Asian Pacific Islander Communities?
Only within the past two decades, have researchers and advocates begun to gather data on domestic violence within Asian and Pacific Islander (API) populations in the United States. Their findings reveal how cultural, linguistic, socioeconomic, and political barriers prevent API women from seeking help. The magnitude of the problem is therefore considerably greater than studies indicate. The following data was compiled by the Asian Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence in San Francisco, CA in December, 2002. For more specific detail refer to their website: www.apiahf.org
In a study conducted by the Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence in Boston, using a self-administered questionnaire at ethnic fairs (Asian Task Force study) :
44–47% of Cambodians interviewed said they knew a woman who experienced domestic violence.
In a random telephone survey of 262 Chinese men and women in Los Angeles County:
18.1% of respondents reported experiencing “minor physical violence” by a spouse or intimate partner within their lifetime, and 8% of respondents reported “severe physical violence” experienced during their lifetime.
More acculturated respondents (as assessed by the researchers) were twice as likely to have been victims of severe physical violence. Although the author states “It is possible that traditional cultural values serve as a protective buffer against stressors engendered by immigration”, higher rates among more acculturated respondents may be due to their increased likelihood to report abuse.
In a survey conducted by the Immigrant Women’s Task Force of the Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and Services:
20% of 54 undocumented Filipina women living in the San Francisco Bay Area reported having experienced some form of domestic violence, including physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, either in their country of origin or in the United States.
In a face-to-face interview study of a random sample of 211 Japanese immigrant women and Japanese American women in Los Angeles County conducted in 1995 (Yoshihama study):
61% reported some form of physical, emotional, or sexual partner violence that they considered abusive -including culturally demeaning practices such as overturning a dining table, or throwing liquid at a woman- sometime prior to the interview.
52% reported having experienced physical violence during their lifetime. When the probability that some women who have not been victimized at the time of the interview, but may be abused at a later date is calculated, 57% of women are estimated to experience a partner’s physical violence by age 49.
No significant generational differences were found in the age-adjusted risk of experiencing intimate physical, sexual or emotional violence.
A 1986 study involving face-to-face interviews of a convenience sample of 150 Korean women living in Chicago found that:
60% reported experiencing physical abuse by an intimate partner sometime in their lives.
36.7% reported sexual violence by an intimate partner sometime in their lives.
In 1993, a study of 256 Korean men from randomly selected Korean households in Chicago and in Queens (which then had the largest Korean population on the East Coast):
18% of the respondents reported committing at least one of the following acts of physical violence within the past year: throwing something, pushing, grabbing, shoving, or slapping their wife.
6.3% of the men committed what the researcher classified as “severe violence” (kicking, biting, hitting with a fist, threatening with a gun or knife, shooting, or stabbing).
33% of “male-dominated relationships” experienced at least one incident of domestic violence during the year, whereas only 12% of “egalitarian” relationships did.
In a survey of a convenience sample of 214 Korean women and 121 Korean men in the San Francisco Bay Area conducted in 2000 by Shimtuh, a project serving Korean women in crisis (Shimtuh study):
42% of the respondents said they knew of a Korean woman who experienced physical violence from a husband or boyfriend.
About 50% of the respondents knew someone who suffered regular emotional abuse.
The Raj and Silverman study of 160 South Asian women (who were married or in a heterosexual relationship), recruited through community outreach methods such as flyers, snowball sampling, and referrals in Greater Boston, found that:
40.8% of the participants reported that they had been physically and/or sexually abused in some way by their current male partners in their lifetime; 36.9% reported having been victimized in the past year.
65% of the women reporting physical abuse also reported sexual abuse, and almost a third (30.4%) of those reporting sexual abuse reported injuries, some requiring medical attention.
No significant difference was found in the prevalence of domestic violence between arranged marriages [typically refers to marriages arranged by parents or relatives of each member of the couple] and non-arranged marriages.
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In a study of 30 Vietnamese women recruited from a civic association that serves Vietnamese women in Boston:
47% reported intimate physical violence sometime in their lifetime.
30% reported intimate physical violence in the past year.