Thu, Jul 19, 2007 - Page 4 News List

Experts warn on damage of violence to witnesses

By Loa Iok-sin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Garden of Hope Foundation director Chi Hui-jung (紀惠容) yesterday warned of the psychological damage inflicted on children who witness domestic violence, at the launch of a book on the topic.

"If we don't pay attention to these children now, [witnessing domestic abuse] will have a long-term impact on their personalities, job performance and interpersonal relationships," Chi said.

Lin Tzu-ling (林慈玲), a Ministry of the Interior official in charge of domestic violence prevention, said the problem had not received enough attention.

"The psychological impact of witnessing domestic violence can be much worse than being physically hurt in such an incident," especially for children who are still mentally immature, she said.

The foundation estimates that nearly 80,000 children nationwide witnessed incidents of domestic violence last year.

"Children learn their gender roles from their parents," said Ma Tsung-chieh (馬宗潔), professor of social work at Soochow University. "Boys who witness domestic violence may come to believe that being a man is about being violent, while girls may learn to tolerate being abused in later life."

Former actress Hsiao Yao (蕭瑤), a victim of domestic abuse herself, shared a friend's experience with the media.

"A friend of mine, Hsiao Chuan (小娟), is a victim of long-term domestic violence. Her three children have all witnessed their father's violent behavior," she said.

As a result, Hsiao Yao said Hsiao Chuan's older daughter had come to believe that the female gender symbolized weakness and resolved to dress and act like a man.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top