&#91EDITORIALS&#93Violence in the home

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[EDITORIALS]Violence in the home

Is domestic violence different from other acts of violence? Before the shock of the baseball-bat attack on the comedienne, Lee Gyeong-sil, by her husband, a housewife was killed when she jumped off the veranda of her apartment in a bid to escape a beating by her husband. These tragic incidents raise questions on the general perception in our society, which excludes violence committed within the bounds of a family from ordinary violence.

After many women's rights organizations, such as the Korea Women's Hotline, demanded legal protection for housewives who suffer from domestic violence, the Act on Punishment of Crimes of Domestic Violence was promulgated in 1998. Five years after the law took effect, our perception of domestic violence seems to not have changed very much.

Although the number of complaints received at related institutions has increased by more than 50 percent each year, only around 2 percent of the victims seek legal protection. It is mainly because only the victims or their legal representatives can lodge a complaint against their assailants.

One out of 10 persons is said to be a victim of domestic violence. Apart from the involvement of family members ?husbands and wives, parents and children ?there is no difference between domestic crime and any other crime, which inflicts serious physical injury on the victim.

In a cruel manner, domestic violence is much more vicious than other violent acts Often it is covered up by the victim, with the perpetrator using the victim's desire to protect their family at any cost by not letting the crime be known outside the home to avoid public disgrace.

Violence leads to more violence. Violence that begins with a light slap can be the first step to a vicious beating or death from a angry person wielding a club or other weapon. What is horrible is that violence gives rise to violence.

Domestic violence is no different from other violence. In order to keep peace and comfort in our homes, we should not make any exception to the punishment of violence.

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