[Part of 4 posts responding to responses to this post.]
This was brought up by dagSeoul and fleetingbeat – the fact that there is domestic abuse in Korea and that it goes unreported. I’m extremely hesitant to make any statements about this issue simply because I know very little about it.
Here’s a UNHCR document on the progression of domestic abuse prosecution in Korea, which predictably shows that prosecution is hard but has come a long way. There’s not much about comparative rates of reported abuse or anything. And I doubt that a good comparison could be done, given how different attitudes towards the manhandling of other people in general is here vs. home.
I have nothing but very general anecdotes to say about this one. I’ve been making an effort at reading more novels and shorts stories by Korean feminist authors, and the repeated themes are inequality and double standards, abandonment, faithlessness and betrayal, dismissal and condescension… but I haven’t seen wife-beating so far. Of the two Korean people that I’ve discussed domestic violence and aggression with, both were of the opinion that a woman being hit even once warranted divorce proceedings (and for one of their families, it did). But that’s only two people. And both are quite young and quite progressive. So I really just don’t know.
The “silent domestic abuse” point is something I’ve heard quite more than a few times from both expats and gyopo classmates, though, so it must be rooted in something. What? Does anyone have any information?
Actually, unreported domestic violence isn’t silent nor is it invisible. And I didn’t write silent, I wrote invisible—having to do with mediated images and discourse that go uncritically examined in Korea. But sure, unreported rape, sexual abuse, incest, “date” rape. (I hate that term date rape. Rape is rape.)
This is not only a Korean problem. I wouldn’t say Korean violence. I wrote invisible violence in Korea. It’s late, and again, I’m not at all trying to insert my interests into your discussion, which I was very happy to see posted. But it’s an important distinction, and one I’d hope you’d consider. If you want me to explain a little more, I can, but tomorrow. Cheers.