Domestic abuse cases on the rise as children are starting to hit back
By Ho Ai Li The Straits Times/Asia News Network
December 15, 2013, 12:01 am TWN
BEIJING -- In China, it is not uncommon for parents to discipline their children physically. Hitting means cherishing, scolding means loving, goes the common Chinese saying, “da shi teng, ma shi ai.”
What has changed these days though is that children as young as 10 years old are fighting back and hitting their parents instead, say social workers.
In one case this year, a 12-year-old boy beat up his mother after she scolded him for skipping school, said Na Lixin, who is in charge of hotline calls at The Maple Women's Psychological Counseling Center in Beijing.
“The father and mother fought previously and the child picked this up from them,” she told The Straits Times. She has not had complaints about children abusing parents until this year.
This is just one of tens of thousands of domestic violence cases reported in China each year. While public awareness of domestic violence has increased considerably in China over the last decade, many victims still don't get the help and protection they need, partly because of inadequate laws and partly because domestic violence is still often seen as a private family matter, say experts.
China has had an average of 40,000 to 50,000 domestic violence, or jia bao, cases a year in recent years, said the All-China Women's Federation (ACFW). It had announced plans to set up an intervention center to mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on Nov. 25.
An ACWF survey in 2011 found that a quarter of all women have experienced domestic violence, either physical or verbal.
About 200 domestic abuse calls a year were received by the Maple center, says Na. More than nine in 10 cases involved husbands hitting wives. Husbands may also try to control their wives by not giving them money, she said.
While the numbers have stayed about the same, what is lacking is legislation to punish offenders as well as social services, say activists.