Domestic violence is a systematic pattern of behaviors that include physical battering, coercive control, economic abuse, emotional abuse, and/or sexual violence. It is intended to gain or maintain power and control over a romantic or intimate partner to intimidate, frighten, terrorize, humiliate, blame, or injure. It can happen to anyone of any age, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender, religion, education level, or socioeconomic background; regardless of whether couples are married, living together, dating, or hooking-up.
Domestic violence is more than a series of violent incidents on an identifiable cycle. It is about living in a climate of fear and disempowering restrictions that threaten and affect one’s selfhood, psychological well-being, health, economic independence, and emotional availability for parenting.
Two Significant, Differing Dynamics In Asian Homes
Domestic violence is a universal problem, but its cultural expressions differ. Drawing attention to such differences can serve to confirm stereotypes because nuanced complexities are hard to convey; but advocacy that is not rooted in cultural contexts is even more problematic.
Graphic from AAPIdata.com. 2008. Data from Ho CK. An Analysis of Domestic Violence in Asian American Communities: A Multicultural Approach to Counseling. Women & Therapy. 9(1-2): 129-150.
Multiple Batterers, Single Victim
- Perpetrators can include marital family members: husbands, mothers-in-law, fathers-in-law, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, ex-wives, new wives; and/or members of a woman’s natal family – her parents, aunts, uncles, adult siblings.
- Multiple batterers may act separately, each using different types of abuse.
- Multiple batterers can act together, playing different roles in one incident.
- In-laws may encourage or support domestic violence, but not perpetrate it themselves.
- Multiple abusers may use coercive control tactics; exercise micro-controls on daily movements – monitoring, tracking, and reporting on them; exert power and control from afar through texting, webcams, other technologies.
Push & Pull Factors
- Pull factors are behaviors and statements that ‘pull’ or lure her back into the relationship by offering apologies, reassurances and promises to change.
- Push factors are meant to ‘push’ her out of the relationship, rather than draw her back in.
- Asian women report feeling pushed out of the relationship or marital home (with statements such as “leave the house, give me a divorce, I can always find another wife”) more frequently than they are pulled or enticed back into it.
- Push and pull factors affect how survivors make decisions, especially about leaving.
Resources on Domestic Violence
This factsheet compiles statistics on domestic violence, sexual violence, domestic violence related homicide, stalking, child exposure to family violence, and human trafficking in Asian and Pacific Islander communities.
This training curriculum on serving API domestic violence survivors address dynamics such as violence over the lifecourse and multiple batterers.
Lifecourse Experiences of Intimate Partner Violence and Help-Seeking among Filipina, Indian, and Pakistani Women, 2010
IPV often recurs over the lifecourse and survivors’ decisions to seek help are shaped by their history of positive and negative experiences of help-seeking, and because their preferred and actual sources of help change over time. Using the Life History Calendar to interview 143 Filipina, Indian and Pakistani domestic violence survivors, this research enhances our understanding of help-seeking over the lifecourse and makes recommendations for system responses to domestic violence in Asian communities.
A compilation of statistics on domestic violence, sexual violence, stalking, and help-seeking in South Asian communities.
Technical Assistance & Training Resources on Domestic Violence
Given that there are multiple resources on domestic violence, we have listed those that comprise the Domestic Violence Resource Network — they provide training, technical assistance and publications on a range of specialized issues.
Battered Women’s Justice Project: Civil, criminal and military justice systems.
National LGBTQ Institute on IPV: a project of the Northwest network of Bisexual Trans, Lesbian and Gay Survivors