chapter  6
21 Pages

Working with survivors of intimate partner violence

Intimate partner violence, behavior by a partner that results in physical, psychological, or sexual harm to the other partner, is a problem that affects women worldwide (Garcia-Moreno et al., 2006). Although it is difficult to estimate the prevalence of partner violence because of discrepancies in data collection methods, studies compiled by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicate that 10 to 69 percent of women report experiencing physical abuse by an intimate male partner (World Health Organization, 2002). The paucity of population-based studies does not allow us to determine if rates of domestic violence are higher in Asian countries than in Western countries. However, there are reports that suggest that rates of partner abuse in Asian countries are higher than those in Western countries. In the United States the incident rates are 20 percent of the population (Tjaden and Thoennes, 2000). The WHO reports that 3 percent or fewer women reported partner abuse in the previous 12 months in Australia and Canada while the rate reported by currently married women inKorea was 38 percent (World Health Organization, 2002). Non-population-based studies in China indicate that 21 percent of married women in Beijing and 90 percent of married women in rural China report having been physically abused by their husbands (Hicks, 2006). According to a government study in Japan, 25 percent of women reported experiencing physical battering by their husbands or male partners (Cabinet Office Japan, 2009). Worldwide, intimate partner violence can lead to murder. According to the

WHO, 40 to 70 percent of female murder victims are killed by their husbands or boyfriends (WHO, 2002). A significant proportion of homicides occur when women try to leave their partners. In some Asian cultures, women who are thought to have brought dishonor to their families are murdered in the name of honor (Papp, 2010). Asian immigrant women are particularly vulnerable to intimate partner violence

because most Asian cultures are patriarchal and hierarchical and men have power over women. Some immigrant communities condone violence toward women (Bhuyan et al., 2005; Bui andMorash, 1999; Yoshioka et al., 2001). The purpose of this chapter is to discuss clinical practice with women who are survivors of intimate partner abuse in Asian immigrant communities. We first provide an overview of intimate partner violence, present issues that are unique to Asian immigrant women, and discuss how relational approaches can be used in providing assistance to these women. In this chapter, we use the terms intimate partner violence and domestic violence interchangeably.