Abusive International Marriage

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Abusive international marriages and relationships are a form of domestic and family violence when some of the following types of abuses are present:

  • Older men having relationships and marrying very young women (at times the age difference can be 20-50 years) creating a power differential that leaves young brides vulnerable to abuse.
  • First wives being forced into accepting legal divorces and standing to lose community property, child support, etc. without their knowledge, especially in pro se (self-represented) divorce actions.
  • Domestic violence that can include physical, sexual, economic and emotional abuses, and coercive control over the new wife, as well as the now divorced former wife.
  • Sexual assault of young girls and women perpetrated by men going overseas in order to avoid issues regarding sponsorship and marriage.
  • Overseas husbands making money by using their wives to lure Hmong American men into relationships with their wives.d
  • Young Hmong men in Asia engaging in abusive international marriages by marrying older, vulnerable Hmong American women who are single, divorced or widowed.
  • Abandonment of wives or ex-wives, including pregnant wives, and/or children from both marriages by leaving them in Asia or the U.S. without any financial or legal recourses.
  • Adult Hmong American sons marrying a bride from overseas who is in fact intended for their aged father.

Because the abuses in these marriages cross state and and international lines, these cases are legally complex, and many Hmong advocates have called attention to the lack of appropriate services for survivors. At the same time, the tireless and powerful advocacy Hmong advocates have done to speak out against harmful practices, and to build the capacity of their local programs to serve survivors of abusive international marriages, are testaments to their resilience and to the strength of their commitment to their communities.

Resources on Abusive International Marriage

Gender and Culture in Transition: A Community Conversation: Report on Domestic Violence Forum with the Fresno Hmong Community, 2014

Advocates and community members from Fresno convened to examine domestic violence within the context of gender equity and how it impacts Fresno’s Hmong community. Participants identified steps that communities and systems can take to raise awareness, improve service for survivors, and redefine gender values and practices. Report by Central California Asian Pacific Women. 

Building Our Future: A Community Campaign

Building Our Future is a global community campaign driven by a caring network of change agents who are uniting to change practices, behaviors, and beliefs that contribute to gender-based violence, and to build healthy and safe families that thrive from generation to generation.

Standing up against abusive international marriages:

Speaking out against abusive international marriages: