Abusive International Marriages: Hmong Advocates Organizing in Wisconsin

Hmong women working in domestic violence programs organized a series of meetings to understand the trends and issues in international marriages and to explore possible actions to address abusive international marriages. They saw its connections to sexual and domestic violence and the impact on their communities; and wanted to find out what is happening. Hmong advocates, Hmong women activists, victims/survivors of the practice of abusive international marriages, community leaders and allies came together to learn and strategize. Their documentation of the problem and its impact, analysis, survivors’ stories, and strategies are captured in Abusive International Marriages: Hmong Advocates Organizing in Wisconsin.

As the report clearly shows, Hmong advocates emphasized understanding the complexities of abusive international marriages and articulating a vision of and strategies for community change. It takes courage to address difficult problems in an open forum: the importance of being protective of one’s culture and community has to be balanced with speaking out against harmful practices. These discussions demonstrate how deeply Hmong advocates are invested in their communities and in cultural change work. Their powerful activism is a testament to culture as a dynamic, ever-changing force that mobilizes community assets to prevent sexual and domestic violence. This report belongs to Hmong advocates, activists, survivors, and community leaders; the inspiration their work offers belongs to all of us.

“Survivors are here to teach us, so their story becomes our story”

Building Movement to End Abusive International Marriages

Building Our Future (BOF) is a community campaign created by community change agents, movement builders, and advocates to end domestic violence and abusive international marriages/relationships in the Hmong community. October 25th was chosen as the Day of Action for organizers across the country to host events that can bring awareness, spark conversations, and create strategies that help end abusive practices that hurt families. Activities ranged from vigils, teach-ins, kitchen table discussion, community forums, radio talk-shows, and viral organizing on social media networks.

The following report is a summary of the evaluations collected from the Day of Action events.

Today, 75 organizers are part of Building Our Future across the globe, and our efforts have reached at least 4,404 people (64% are women, 32% are men) according to social network data on Facebook, twitter, and tumblr.