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Domestic violence in focus
Updated: 2004-08-14 11:30

An Jiahe loved his wife but beat her every day. When she got pregnant, he pushed her down and stepped on her face.

This was a frightening scene from "Don't Talk to Strangers," a top-rating TV series over the last year.

The series has turned a spotlight on the reality of domestic violence in China.

"Domestic violence has emerged as a serious social problem in recent years," Guo Jianmei, a law professor from Beijing University, said at the International Congress of Psychology in the capital city.

Domestic violence includes physical, sexual and emotional abuse, mostly against women.

There have been increasing media reports of domestic abuse in China in recent years.

More than 80 percent of complaints received by marriage consultant services relate to male violence.

But Chinese women are not the only victims of domestic violence.

Statistics show that one out of every three women around the world has been beaten, raped or emotionally abused by her husband or male partner.

Guo said violent husbands, often alcoholics, usually ban wives from talking to other males, accuse them of unfaithfulness and even follow them.

Nancy Russo, a psychologist from Arizona State University of the United States, said in a male-dominated society, shame often prevents women from exposing abusive partners.

Intervention systems are often absent, stopping injured women from finding legal and social aid.

The fear and resentment sometimes leads to bloody revenge.

In the female prison of Shandong Province, half the female criminals were jailed for violent crimes such as murder, mostly committed against abusive husbands.

According to Lin Jianjun, a law professor from the Chinese Women's College, China's intervention system for domestic violence includes legal and social aid.

The revised Marriage Law forbids domestic violence and names it as one of four petitions for divorce.

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