Domestic abuse rose in 2010

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Domestic abuse rose in 2010

More Korean couples had physical fights in 2010 because of financial problems due to the global economic crisis and continuing high unemployment, according to a survey released by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family yesterday.

The survey on domestic violence this year found that one in six married people under the age of 64 has been beaten by his or her spouse.

The ministry conducted door-to-door interviews at 3,800 households and said 16.7 percent of people younger than 64 were physically assaulted by spouses this year.

The ministry said that the global economic crisis, which caused high unemployment in 2008, was a factor after 23.2 percent of the women and 29.6 percent of men said financial difficulties drove them to violence, jumping from 8.8 and 9.5 percent in 2007.

Among female respondents, 15.8 percent said they were beaten by their husbands, five times higher than rates in Britain or Japan.

The biggest reason for physical quarrels was “differences in personality,” the reply of 41.9 percent of wives and 43.9 percent of husbands. That reason ranked first in 2007 as well.

If you include psychological and sexual assaults with physical ones, 53.8 percent of respondents said they had been attacked.

The survey also indicated that 9.5 percent of abusive husbands drink alcohol almost every day, compared to the fact that only 6.5 percent of non-violent husbands do.

The ministry also released a report on sex crimes, interviewing 617 males and 1,538 females nationwide. It found that 81.2 percent of women who suffered rape or any sexual assault in 2010 said the offenders were acquaintances.

Among rape victims, 15.4 percent said they were attacked by relatives or family members.

The report showed an increase in rapes, from 2.2 out of 1,000 respondents in 2007 to 5.1 out of 1,000 this year, but said that doesn’t simply mean sex crimes have jumped.

“We think the reason is because female victims are more willing to report the crime, thanks to public campaigns promoting reports of sexual offenses,” Park Dong-hyeok, an official at the ministry, said. 12.3 percent of rape victims reported to police this year, while only 7.1 percent did in 2007.

27.1 percent of respondents said they had received a lewd phone call or e-mail this year, and 27.5 women out of 1,000 respondents said a man had exposed himself to them this year.


By Kim Hee-jin [heejin@joongang.co.kr]

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