Category Archives: Intimate partner violence

Op-Ed Intimate Partner Violence in China

Diamond Ragin

As reported by Emily Ruahala, Chinese woman Li Hongxia, age 23, was brutally strangled to death in a hospital by her husband after years of enduring physical abuse. Her own family members discouraged her from seeking a divorce despite knowing about the abuse because they believed it would give her a bad reputation in the community. Today her body rests in a refrigerated casket in the home she once shared with her husband as a reminder to the citizens of China to protect the victims of domestic violence rather than to reject their pleas for help.

Unfortunately, Li’s case is not uncommon. In China, thirty percent of women suffer from domestic violence at some point in their marriages. Many victims of domestic violence don’t divorce because their lives are being threatened by their partners. They also may have nowhere else to go, and many are pressured by family members and friends to stay married.

Victims of domestic violence in China have limited options for refuge. If they cannot get assistance from family members then they must resort to government-funded domestic violence shelters. These shelters provide temporary housing where victims can get legal, medical and psychological aid. However, there are not many of these facilities open and they are usually connected to homeless shelters; this causes female victims not to feel safe. There is also a fear of social criticism and community ostracism when going to stay at these facilities.

On February 1st, 2016 the day after Hongxia was murdered, the Chinese government passed a law aimed to protect the victims of domestic violence by making it easier for them to get restraining orders and government aid should they divorce their husbands. However, because of the lack of enforcement from local officials, this law is doing little to help the victims. Judicial officials are hesitant to provide restraining orders and disrupt families due to societal views on family that states a that a fully functioning home is one what has an obedient wife and a dominant husband. Therefore, it is seen as taboo for a woman to divorce or separate from her husband.

Unless these women get the help, they will continue to suffer. Unable to obtain divorces, many believe that their only hope of peace will come in the form of suicide. Forty-seven percent of suicides in China are the result of spousal abuse. To make this law more effective and protect the victims of domestic abuse, the Chinese government needs to make domestic abuse and other intimate partner-related violence crimes with punishable offences. The government must also take action to make sure that officials enforce the law. This could be done by implanting training courses on the proper protocal should a victim or bystander report a possible demotic abuse situation.

Another important step to protect women is to encourage more women to seek careers, so that they can contribute to family finances and gain more power relative to their husbands. Greater financial autonomy will also enable women to divorce if necessary because they will be better able to obtain custody and care for children. Building more domestic violence shelters made specifically for women and children will allow women to get the assistance they need without the worry of being attacked by predators outside the home.

As China is continues to change and modernize and adjust its laws to reflect its new outlook, the government must develop a way to ensure that its laws are being enforced. This is an ongoing issue many counties seen to have; especially when creating laws that diverge from a traditional norm.


Diamond Ragin attends East Carolina University and is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology. She hopes to continue to research different cultures and incorporate her skills in her career field.

Umoja – a village with no men

Umoja is a village in Kenya, I had seen a video on Facebook and decided to do a little more digging into this village. The name of the village in Swahili means “unity”. This village has banned men from itself, it was founded in 1990 by female survivors of rape and sexual violence, but also is a safe haven for women who flee these situations; they also welcome women who are fleeing genital mutilation and child marriage but also anything that causes harm emotionally or physically to women. The village only consists of 20 women and 200 children.

Umoja has inspired other women-only villages within Kenya.

“Building community through peace, love and understanding rather than fear and violence.”


Personally I thought this video was amazing, to find out that these women, even what they’ve been through have found strength to fight to get their lives back and help other women in Kenya and other fleeing women to do the same; it’s inspirational.

Half The Battle, On Women In Combat

Thomas Hennessey

As Veteran’s day approaches (November 9) the discussion of women in combat heats up once again.  In this article Callie Crossley discusses why imagery of women serving is not seen all that often during Veteran’s day celebration despite it being well known that women serve right along side men. The author states that she recently searched Veterans on google only to find the all too common images, MEN carrying weapons or giving a patriotic salute. The reason being that women are currently disallowed from combat arms roles and the stereotypical image of a Veteran is one carrying a weapon rather than one who fulfill support roles.  Currently the former Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Dunford believes based on a survey of women serving in combat roles in the Marine Corps that those Units had less unit cohesion than those who were made of males only.  This fact being recited despite the Secretary of the Navy currently not allowing the full report to be released.  The author is calling for google to allow more imagery of female veterans in its searches.

Ray Rice hopes to work for NFL, raise awareness of domestic violence

Thomas Hennessey

An article released by ESPN announced that Ray Rice would like to work with the NFL to raise awareness for domestic violence.  This announcement came during an interview with the former Baltimore Ravens running back in which he stated that if he did not get another chance to play in the NFL he would still like to make an effort to use his mistake to make a difference for the better.  Ray Rice is one of two NFL players in the last two years who have received large amount of public scrutiny due to nature of their crimes and court cases.  Ray Rice was caught on security footage hitting his then fiancé and now wife, he was immediately let out of his contract and has not received another tryout with any other NFL team.  He stated in his interview that he feared parents telling their children that they did not want them to end up like Ray Rice.  But the real question is why does the NFL not have a clear policy in dealing with player who are suspected of perpetrating domestic violence, Ray Rice has not played another down despite his trial being over and him serving his penance.  Where as Greg Hardy formerly of the Carolina Panthers still in the process of trial has been given another chance by the Dallas Cowboys.  There are clearly some inconsistencies that need to be worked out.


October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Thomas Hennessey

I am going to both apologize and warn you in advance that this post is not a news article exactly. As some of you may know October is Domestic Violence awareness month in the United States. This awareness month came from a day of solidarity in the early 1980’s, in 1989 congress passed a law designating October to be domestic awareness month. Some cities through out North Carolina have events to raise awareness but as far as I can tell Greenville is not one of those cities.  The city of Greenville is not the only offender in my opinion however, I also investigated ECU news to see if there was any events planned or articles written but I have not found those yet.  Above I have placed the link to President Obama’s Presidential Proclamation on National Domestic Violence awareness month and I have also attached the North Carolina Department of Justice report on domestic violence related homicides in 2013.

Pitt County Announces Domestic Violence Prevention Strategy

Thomas Hennessey

Pitt County law enforcement agencies launching new program to prevent domestic violence

This week Pitt County law enforcement agencies announced a strategy that they believe will decrease domestic violence. The strategy is titled “Legality Assessment Program” or “LAP” and according to the article it is a preventative strike at domestic violence.  The program has created 11 questions that can be used to evaluate a person’s situation. If it is deemed this person is in danger they will be asked to speak with a victim’s advocate.  24/7 access to victim’s advocate is a new concept because previously forced to wait one business day for contacting a victim of domestic violence. This article stresses that this is a preventative measure to cut down on the cases of domestic violence or at least stop some cases in their infancy.

Intimate Domestic Violence: African American Women

Institutional and internalized racism significantly contributes to African American misogyny and domestic violence. The problem is as old as African American slavery and the 19th century Freedmen’s Bureau (Hubbert 2011:129) contains a list of complaints about domestic violence from African American women by their husbands and boyfriends. African American women presently experience domestic violence 35% more than White American women (Hampton, Margarian, and Oliver 2003:536).

African American women have always been considered as a substandard group in the United States (U.S.) and internalized racism influences many African American males to look down upon them. Additionally, institutional racism promotes clinical depression and other mental health issues. This, alongside of poverty and high unemployment rate, directly leads many African American women to experience the backlash abusive relationships.

So what currently maintains the stability of African American misogyny and domestic, violence? Movies, music lyrics, influential misogynist celebrities, and White and internalized African American racists constantly send out offensive messages against African American women. This problem stems from slavery, when the U.S. population were expected to hate and mistreat African American women (Gourdine et al. 2011:58).


Gourdine, Ruby M., and Brianna P. Lemmons. 2011. “Perceptions of Misogyny in Hip Hop and Rap: What do the Youths think?.” Journal Of Human Behavior In The Social Environment 21:57-72. Abingdon, OX: Taylor & Francis Group. doi: 10.1080/10911359.2011.533576.

Hampton, Robert, Lucia Magarian, and William Oliver. 2003, May. “Domestic Violence in the African American Community: An Analysis of Social and Structural Factors.” Violence Against Women 9: 533-557. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Pubications. doi: 10.1177/1077801202250450.

Hubbert, Paulette D. 2011, May 11. “Transforming the Spirit: Spirituality In the Treatment Of the African American Male Perpetrator of Intimate Partner Violence.” Journal Of Religion & Spirituality In Social Work 30:125-143. London, UK: Routledge. doi: 10.1080/15426432.2011.56711.

Vagianos, Alanna. 2014. “30 Shocking Domestic Violence Statistics that Remind us it’s an Epidemic.” The Huffington Post.




does Stand Your Ground protect battered women?

Can Women Stand Their Ground? Depends On the Target.

Marissa Alexander was a battered woman who was trained to use a weapon, had a concealed carry permit, and had a court injunction against her husband. She was sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot at the ceiling – a shot that may have saved her life – and now may face 60 years in prison if prosecutor Angela Corey has her way. George Zimmerman killed a man and went free so why was Marissa Alexander also not allowed to stand her ground?

If SYG doesn’t adequately protect women experiencing intimate partner violence (like many supporters of the law suggest), what can we do to protect them?

– Lindsay

Punishing Rape with More Rape? DRC Trauma Stories

Last week, Lauren Wolfe of Women Under Siege wrote about the rape and violence of everyday life in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This violence is tearing families apart. Men, women, and children are caught in the horrors of war and the men are fighting for a sense of control. Husbands of women who have been raped often choose to leave their wives because these women have “lost their value.” 43% of men surveyed thought men whose wives had been raped should leave. Those women whose husbands choose to stay are often beaten or raped again. More than half of these men reported perpetuating some form of violence against their wives. Rape among civilians has increased 17-fold and violence, trauma, hunger, and poverty are rampant and studies have found that men are dealing with the trauma by inflicting more violence, usually on their wives and children. Researchers state that “Family has become the battlefield where men try to regain control and power that is lost elsewhere in life.”  Lindsay Cortwright

Living Peace is an organization that is trying to promote community support for families that have experienced trauma because of the war and giving hope to these scarred communities. You can read the full article here.

University Of North Carolina Routinely Violates Sexual Assault Survivor Rights, Students Claim

There are two articles I found pertaining to this issue. The Huff Post article goes into detail about how UNC is violating all sorts of laws. The first victim Andrea Pino suffered from PTSD after being assaulted at a party, and the school refused to let her withdraw medically.

Landen Gambill reported to the honor court that her abusive ex-boyfriend was stalking her. She had to tell the court intimate details about the relationship, and the court then sent all of the information to her parents, whom she had not told and in direct violation of the law. According to the yahoo news article the school is now charging Landen with an honor court violation for speaking out on social media about how she was basically ignored.

Pino, Gambill, and Annie Clark along with 64 other sexual assault victims are filing a formal complaint saying the university violated the sexual assault victims bill of rights, clery act, FERPA, title IX, the civil rights act, and the Americans with disabilities act.

I would like to know why the honor court was handling sexual assault cases in the first place? This is a criminal matter and the university police should be handling, not ill-equipped students with no knowledge of the law or victim counseling. These articles reminded me of the chapters about rape kits, and sexual assault in the book. Why do we continue to blame the victim, protect the abuser, file charges against the victim for speaking out, and ignore the larger issue of sexual assaults on college campuses? Maybe this will be a wake up call for other colleges and universities in the UNC system, and nationwide to take a stand against sexual assault and other violence against women on their campuses.

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