Violence is a tragic reality for many women (and men), both here in the United States and abroad in other countries. To provide some context, I did some research on domestic violence here at home, but also in China and Russia (a comparison amongst major global players). This is what I've found.
According to an article in the China Daily, Chinese authorities receive about 50,000 complaints of domestic violence a year. Violence occurs in all walks of life; it affects people in both urban and rural areas and is present across all levels of society. There isn't, however, adequate legislation to deal with the issue. According to Sun Xiaomei (professor at the Chinese Women's College), who was interviewed for another China Daily article, in 2000, there were only 2,000 reports of domestic violence.
That number has climbed dramatically.
Sun states, "Society is well aware that domestic violence exists, but there are no guidelines in law to clarify when judicial departments can get involved or how the perpetrators should be punished". She argues that the government should clarify what domestic violence is and what the consequences are.
According to Women's News, 14,000 women are killed by their husbands or partners annually, and 1 in 4 Russian families has experienced domestic violence.
Like China, the government has not taken the steps needed to rectify this problem. According to Amnesty International, offenders are not likely to face consequences.
There is also a cultural element; women in Russia are pressured to remain married, even if they are in an abusive relationship. The stigma associated with being alone is strong enough that women shy away from divorces.
Statistics provided by the American Bar Association show that about 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are assaulted by their partners annually. About 1,247 women are killed, while domestic violence claims about 440 men annually.
The number of assaults in the US is much higher than that of the other countries, but the number of deaths appears to be lower. Additionally, the US government has made steps that Russia and China have not by creating legislation to define domestic violence and its consequences.
For the actual statutes, please click here.
The long and the short of it is that, no matter what the statistics say, domestic violence is unacceptable. Some countries have taken more steps than others to address the problem, but there are still many people who need help.
If you are in trouble, please seek help from a local organization or hotline.
The US National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799- SAFE (7233) or TTY 1−800−787−3224.