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Domestic violence put under the spotlight
( 2003-12-10 23:34) (China Daily)

More domestic violence in China takes place in rural areas, in young families and in households with lower educational levels, according to a latest survey by the All-China Women's Federation.

The survey, among 3,246 people in six provinces and municipalities also found that 34.9 per cent of the women interviewed tend to seek help from their friends or relatives when beaten by their husbands, while other 17.6 per cent and 17 per cent of them will call women federations and residents' committees for help.

One scene from a TV play 'Don't talk to strangers' depicting domestic violence. [newsphoto.com.cn/file]

Only about 2 per cent of them said they will seek help from legal organizations.

The survey result was released by the federation Wednesday which was International Human Rights Day. The federation and the United Nations Fund For Women organized activities to fight violence against women in Beijing.

In China's traditional concept, family violence, especially violence against women is a domestic disgrace, which others should not be told about.

To change this outdated view, women organizations at all levels have been working hard to spread knowledge of the law and human rights for 10 years.

In Liaoning Province the provincial public security organs and judicial departments issued "Regulations about Preventing and Combating Domestic Violence'' and "Regulations about Treating Domestic Violence in Liaoning Province'' in 2000.

"As such cases usually happen in rural areas, this is where we concentrate our work and conduct legal education.'' Wang Shizheng, an official of the Liaoning Provincial Security Bureau said.

The reported cases of family violence grew by 38 per cent from last year, according to Fang Yuzhu, an official of the Legal Department of the All-China Women's Federation.

"The rising numbers show that women are realizing violence against them is illegal, and they dare to report it to police now. It is good news,'' she said.

But when people are focusing on women's physical injuries, they may not pay enough attention to the mental injuries.

Family violence includes dominance and recessiveness. Recessive violence means husbands do not care about their wives, and may verbally or sexually abuse them.

People usually ignore recessive violence, or do not even admit to it.

"When we encounter such cases, nothing can be done except to use mediation. Husbands will not be prosecuted in these cases,'' Wang said.

Another difficulty in enforcing the law is that victims often give up prosecuting their husbands after they have been sent to police station. The victims said their purpose is to hope the police educate their husbands, but they do not want them to be imprisoned.

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