[Letters] Indifference invites domestic violenceLately, domestic violence resulted in a series of murders. A man killed his wife of 50 years, and a woman killed her husband after being abused for decades. These terrible cases happened in homes, where people want to think of as a place to rest. However, these incidents do not happen overnight. In the backgrounds of the murders are domestic violence that had lasted for decades. The victims could not get help or attention from anyone and had to resort to an extreme measure.
The JoongAng Ilbo highlighted the importance of family environment and the seriousness of domestic violence through a life-course theory approach in the feature titled “Homemade Criminals” on May 29 issue. The investigative report analyzed Suwon District Court’s sentencing reports and decisions of 159 convicted criminals. 34.7 percent of the subjects experienced direct physical and verbal violence and negligence of their parents, and 66.7 percent experienced parents’ divorce, extramarital affair, abuse, alcoholism and mental illness. The family environment in the course of growing up exerts tremendous impact on the life of the individual.
The occurrence and continuation of domestic violence is fanned by the indifference of the society. Korea Women’s Hotline recently hosted a forum to bring judicial justice for the female victims of domestic violence. A woman whose mother had killed her abusive farther introduced herself as “a victim of domestic violence, a witness of the murder and a surviving family.” She said, “I came here because I really want to know what kind of society is so indifferent to the horrible violence and frequent rape in families.” How has the society responded to the cries of the victims of the domestic violence? When a victim asks for help, people consider that a fight between a husband and a wife is trivial. As in the case of the heinous Suwon rape and murder case, it was the indifference of the neighbors that led to the brutal death of the victim.
Domestic violence is the breeding ground of felonies and root and result of all violence. Korea Women’s Hotline is promoting “Tuesdays of Memories” every Tuesday. The objective is to remind ourselves that domestic violence is a savage crime and we must work together to eradicate it. We call for complete revision of the related laws on domestic violence to punish the offenders severely, to offer preventative education at schools, workplaces and public agencies and to listen to the voices of the victims. When the societal perception on domestic violence changes, the felonies as a result of domestic violence will decrease.
*The director of Korea Women’s Hotline
By Jung Choun-sook