Wives Caught in China’s “Web of Abuse”

in China was highlighted last year when the American wife of celebrity English teacher Li Yang posted photos of gruesome injuries she sustained after he beat her. In Ms. Magazine, Leta Hong Fincher looks at the extent of the problem in Chinese society and the difficulties abused women have getting legal protection:

The latest government figures reveal that one quarter of China’s women have experienced domestic violence. Yet feminist activists say that figure is understated.

Li Ying, director of the Yuanzhong Gender Development Center in Beijing, says that many women do not admit that they are victims of domestic violence. “Ask a woman if she has experienced domestic violence and she will say, ‘Oh no, of course not!’” says Li. “Ask her if her husband has hit her and she will say, ‘Yes.’”

Even when Chinese women report domestic violence, the police are usually incapable of protecting them. Li acted as the attorney for the parents of Dong Shanshan, a woman murdered in 2009 by her husband after she had called the police eight times to report domestic violence. After Dong’s death, her husband was sentenced to just six and a half years in prison for “ill-treatment” of a spouse.

Read more about domestic violence in China via CDT.

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