Violence may affect 7.8% of the nation’s mothers

SCARED::A survey showed that the majority of abused mothers did not leave their partners for fear of their children’s safety, as well as their own well-being

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff Reporter

Sat, May 07, 2011 - Page 2

As the nation prepares to celebrate Mother’s Day tomorrow, as many as 300,000 Taiwanese moms, 7.8 percent, may be victims of domestic violence, the Modern Women’s Foundation (MWF) said yesterday, adding that victims should not hesitate to seek help.

“At first, I didn’t do anything and tolerated whatever happened to me because I wanted to keep the family together and in harmony,” said a woman surnamed Chung (鍾), who was a victim of domestic abuse for more than 20 years, said at a press conference held by the foundation yesterday.

Even after discovering that her once outgoing daughter was gradually becoming withdrawn, she still did not seek help, Chung said.

“Until one day, when I saw how scared my granddaughter was when she saw me being beaten by my husband, I realized all of a sudden that I should not tolerate this anymore,” she said, adding that her 20-year tolerance of her husband’s abuse did not bring her family the “harmony” that she wanted, but rather it had a negative impact on her daughter and granddaughter.

Chung said she doesn’t have to live in fear now that she sought help and urged people who are being abused by violent partners to seek help

Lai Fang-yu (賴芳玉), a human rights lawyer who has helped numerous victims of domestic violence, echoed Chung’s call.

“If you are a victim of domestic violence, you should call the 113 [the women and children’s protection] hotline or dial 110 for the police right away,” Lai said. “More importantly, let me remind all of you, you should try to escape from such a dangerous place immediately.”

The foundation estimated that more than 300,000 women in the country are currently suffering from domestic abuse similar to what happened to Chung.

According to a survey of 4,400 women conducted by the foundation last week, as much as 7.8 percent of mothers in the country — approximately 300,000 — are victims of domestic violence.

When asked why they did not want to leave their families even if they were being abused, 75.4 percent of the respondents said they were worried that their children’s lives could be in danger, while 55.8 percent were worried that their own lives would be threatened.

In addition, 44 percent of abused mothers would not leave their abusive partners because they had no economic means to do so.

“From the survey, we can see that abused mothers choose to stay for various reasons, but the best thing to do is to leave right away. If you have worries, do not hesitate to contact us or any other women’s groups for help,” foundation executive director Yao Shu-wen (姚淑文) said.