Domestic violence casts long shadow
2019-12-13 17:42

More help provided, but many victims reluctant to speak out


A woman in Sanming, Fujian province, finally ended her marriage in court last week after calling police seven times to complain that she had been a victim of domestic violence.


At her hearing in Sanming Intermediate People's Court, Guo Jie, the judge handling the case, arranged for the woman to receive psychological aid and for her to live in a shelter in the city for about a month to prevent her from being harmed again.


Guo said she could not be sure if the woman would be able to live a normal life in the future, but her bravery in speaking out to police against domestic violence and in approaching the court to stop her "nightmare" should be applauded.

郭杰表示,尽管她不确定这名女性将来能否恢复正常的生活,但她向警方表示反对家庭暴力,并采取法律手段以逃脱 “ 噩梦 ”的勇敢行为是值得称赞的。

In 2014, statistics released by the Supreme People's Court, China's top court, showed that domestic violence occurred in 24.7 percent of Chinese families. The following year, the All-China Women's Federation also said that nearly 50,000 complaints it received annually concerned such violence.


"Domestic violence is an inevitable issue that cannot be ignored when hearing family-related disputes," Guo said, adding that the number of divorce hearings caused by such cases has also been rising.

郭杰说,“ 在审理家庭纠纷案件时,家庭暴力是难以避免同时也是不可忽视的问题,” 她还称由此类案件引起的离婚听证案的数量也在上升。

In March 2016, the country's first law against domestic violence took effect. "Many people didn't realize they had suffered this form of violence before the law was adopted," the judge said. "But since then, some have started to wake up and escape their nightmares."

2016年3月,中国首部反家庭暴力法生效。“ 在这一法案实施之前,很多人缺乏遭受这类形式的暴力的自我意识,” 法官说。“ 但从那以后,有一部分人开始清醒过来,并试图逃离这种噩梦。”

Under the law, acts between family members, including assault, frequent insults, threats, mental harm and restricting personal freedom, are identified as domestic violence. Women's federations also play a leading role in working with other departments, including courts, civil affairs authorities and public security bureaus to better deal with such cases.


Liu Jiecen, a lawyer with the family legal counseling team at the Beijing Yinghe Law Firm, said the new law marked a turning point in drawing public attention to domestic violence. "From that year (2016), more people began discussing the issue and turning to me for legal advice," she said.

北京银河律师事务所 ( Beijing Yinghe Law Firm ) 家庭法律咨询团队的律师刘杰岑 ( 音 ) 表示,新条例的颁布标志着公众关注家庭暴力的一个转折点。她说,“从那一年(2016年)开始,越来越多的人开始讨论这个问题,并向我寻求法律建议,” 

"The increasingly high attention now being paid to domestic violence is very important. When more people understand that such violence is about harm, instead of just being a small family dispute, the problem will be resolved gradually and effectively."


Both Guo and Liu highlighted the significance of the Personal Safety Protection Order, a right granted by law to victims of domestic violence or those who face such a risk. They compared the order to a "firewall", and said it had already played a big role in stopping violence.

郭杰和刘杰岑都强调了人身安全保护令的重要性。人身安全保护令是法律赋予家庭暴力受害者或面临这种风险的个人的一项权利。他们将该法令比作 “ 防火墙 ”,并表示它已经在制止暴力方面发挥了重要作用。

By December last year, courts had received 5,860 applications for protection orders, of which, 3,718 were granted after review, according to a statistic from the top court in March.


But Li Ying, who helped launch a family and community development and service center in Beijing's Dongcheng district, suggested the threshold for applying the orders be lowered, or easier access be provided to victims to receive help.


Li said additional rules also need to be drawn up and clarified, such as stating how police can be trained to distinguish cases of domestic violence from other arguments or fights, adding that there is still a long way to go.


Minority say 'no'

少数人说 “ 不 ”

The issue has frequently made headlines since a beauty vlogger from Chongqing posted a 12-minute video last month accusing her former boyfriend of domestic violence.


The video, published on Nov 25, United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, went viral on Sina Weibo, and quickly raised heated debate nationwide.

这段视频发布于11月25日,恰逢联合国 “ 消除对妇女的暴力行为国际日 ” 。这段影像一经曝光不仅在新浪微博上疯传,而且迅速在全国引起热议。

Using the pseudonym Yuyamika, 28-year-old He Yuhong discussed in the video five incidents of violent abuse she had experienced at the hands of her ex-boyfriend, surnamed Chen, since April 8.

28岁的何玉红 ( 化名Yuyamika ) 在视频中讲述了自4月8日以来其前男友陈某向其施加的五起暴力虐待事件。

The video also included surveillance footage of Chen dragging her out of an elevator in their building, along with interviews with two women, who claimed to be Chen's ex-wives, saying they had experienced physical abuse, threats and mental torture at his hands.


The Chongqing Women's Federation expressed strong condemnation of all forms of domestic violence and offered assistance to He.


On Nov 28, Chen, 44, was given 20 days' administrative detention and a fine by police in Chongqing's Jiangbei district for causing intentional injury.


Under the Public Security Administration Punishment Law, 20 days is the longest period of administrative detention that can be given.


On her Weibo account, He said she was grateful for the timely investigation, but added that Chen could have faced harsher punishment if she had provided evidence of her injuries and reported the matter to police when she was first assaulted.


Liu, the lawyer, applauded He for saying "no" to domestic violence, adding: "Many clients of mine are afraid to speak out. They are hesitant about stopping a relationship with their attackers, let alone ending their marriages."

律师刘某对这名女士敢于向家庭暴力说 “ 不 ” 的行为表示赞许,另外这名律师承认,“我的客户中有很大一部分受害者都不敢说出实情。他们甚至不愿意与给他们带来伤害的人割裂关系,更别说离婚了。”

A woman, who declined to be named, said: "I was irrational when I was violently abused by my husband. I even wanted to assault my child, as I couldn't bear the great pain sometimes.

一位不愿透露姓名的妇女说: “ 当我被我丈夫粗暴地虐待时,我失去了理智 。我甚至想要攻击我的孩子,因为我有时无法忍受巨大的痛苦。

"The first time my husband slapped me, I didn't think of turning to others, because I thought he might face difficulties at work, or he was anxious about our child's studies," she said.

她说:“ 我丈夫第一次打我的时候,我没有想过要求助于他人,因为我觉得他可能是在工作中遇到到困难,或者他对我们孩子的学习感到焦虑。”

"He apologized, and I forgave him. But to my surprise, this was not the end. The assaults happened again and again."


Although Liu suggested that the abused woman report an incident of domestic violence to police and ask for help from her community committee, the victim was still unwilling to give up her marriage. Now, she and her husband are receiving psychological help provided by Liu's team.


The victim said, "My parents disagreed with me about divorce, but I feel scared, especially when my husband is at home."

这名受害者说 : “ 我父母不同意我离婚,但我好害怕,尤其是我丈夫在家的时候。”

Liu said: "Domestic violence runs in circles, or cannot be completely stopped in a short time. Instead, it will become serious if a perpetrator is not stopped and punished promptly."

刘律师说:“ 家庭暴力是一种循环的过程,这一现象无法在短期内得到完全遏制。相反,如果不及时制止行凶者并对其处以刑罚,后果将会很严重。”

'Braver than most'

“ 勇气战胜一切 ”

Liu said that compared with most people in Western countries and some well-educated Chinese, many in the country think women should always be subservient in society and marriage, "so they (the victims) regard domestic violence as shameful and want to cover up it".

刘律师说,与大多数西方国家的人以及一些受过良好教育的中国人相比,许多中国人认为女性应该在社会和婚姻中始终处于从属地位,“ 所以她们 ( 受害者 ) 认为家庭暴力是可耻的,并试图掩盖事实 ” 。

Beijing News reported on Saturday that since the beginning of this year, women in France have staged two protests to fight domestic violence-one in July and the other last month.


Liu said: "Different family cultures and traditions are major causes of different outcomes, and Chinese society often puts a victim under pressure, instead of creating an environment to speak out."

刘律师说:“ 不同的家庭文化和传统背景是导致不同结果的主要原因,中国社会经常给受害者施加压力,而不是创造环境让他们说出真相。”

But she said domestic violence has also been difficult to eliminate in the West. In the United States, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence said about 85 percent of victims found it hard to break off a relationship after they had been abused.


In addition, some Chinese women refuse to be deterred by domestic violence, because they don't want their children to be without a father, according to Liu.


Liu said that on their first meeting, the woman named only as Han, 32, looked pale and older than her age, and her hands were trembling.


The homemaker often asked the lawyer how she could win custody of her 4-year-old child in the event of a divorce, but she did not mention she had been the victim of domestic violence until the fourth phone call between them.


"After a fifth call, we decided to meet each other, but Han then disappeared. She didn't answer my calls, let alone text messages," Liu said. "Several days later, she told me her husband had promised to mend his ways."


In June, Han called Liu once more to arrange another meeting, but she disappeared again. "Such women do not realize that family abuse is also harming their kids," Liu said.

6月,韩再次给这名律师打电话,并表示希望再次见面,但在之后又杳无音讯了。刘律师说, “ 这些女性没有意识到家庭虐待实际上给孩子也造成了伤害。”

In December last year, China Women's News reported that fewer than 10 percent of Chinese women who experience domestic violence call police for help, and only turn to them after experiencing such incidents 35 times on average.


Joint efforts


The law against domestic violence highlights the importance of joint efforts in solving the problem. Since it was introduced, interorganizational cooperation has taken place nationwide.


For example, Beijing Xicheng District People's Court has worked with the local women's federation, public security authority and justice bureau to set up a mechanism to combat domestic violence.


Cao Qiaoqiao, an assistant judge with the court, said: "We often sit together to discuss new problems on this issue. The women's federation is in charge of recording domestic violence reports, while police are asked to answer the reports promptly, to file cases if necessary. The justice bureau is responsible for giving legal aid for victims."

法院助理法官曹巧巧说: “ 我们经常坐在一起讨论与该问题相关的新案件。妇女联合会负责记录家庭暴力报告,同时可要求警察在当下对报告做出回应,如有必要可立案。而司法部则负责为受害者提供法律援助。”

Referring to those willing to apply for a personal safety protection order, which was written into the law to help victims of domestic violence or those facing such a risk, "our court will supply them with a quick channel to ensure their applications can be accepted efficiently", Cao said.


The law stipulates that courts should decide whether to issue the order within 72 hours, or 24 hours in cases of emergency.


From 2016 to June 30, Cao's court issued 39 such orders, which played a role in keeping social stability and harmony.


A long way to go


Li Ying, from the Beijing social organization, applauded the law and the orders, as well as the increased attention being given to domestic violence. But she is concerned that a lack of punishment for perpetrators who disobey protection orders will exacerbate the problem.

来自北京社会组织的李英 ( 音译 ) 十分赞同实行该法律和保护令的决议,对于越来越多的人开始关注家庭暴力问题也倍感欣慰。但她担心,针对不遵守保护令的违法者的刑罚措施所存在的不完善现象将加剧这一问题。

She said that in Taiwan, victims of domestic violence cannot be refused psychological help and job opportunities, along with lower-priced rental houses, adding, "This is better than the shelters we offer for victims to stay in temporarily."

她说,在台湾,家庭暴力的受害者不可拒绝心理帮助和工作机会,以及减轻租房压力的援助。她补充说,“ 这比我们为受害者提供的临时住所要好。”

In view of the difficulties in collecting evidence, she suggested that lawmakers lower the threshold for applying for protection orders. She also called for public security departments nationwide to draw up a guideline as soon as possible outlining how to question victims in their homes, how to evaluate the risk of domestic violence and how to better deal with such cases involving juveniles.


She said a shortage of police officers can be understood, "but unregulated handling of cases may bring greater harm to victims. We've seen achievements in fighting domestic violence, but we still have a long way to go."

她说,警察人力短缺是可以理解的,“ 但如果不对此类案件加以控制,受害者可能会遭受更大的伤害。” 目前我们针对家庭暴力进行的打击工作已初见成效,但要真正根除这颗 “ 毒瘤 ” 仍然任重而道远。”

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