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Abuse Within the Asian American Community

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Like all other cultures across the nation, domestic abuse is also common within the Asian American community. "Domestic abuse is defined as a pattern of coercive and controlling behaviors and tactics used by one person over another to gain power and control" (www.mass.gov). It occurs in all types of relationships between adults and between family members. It affects people regardless of their gender or sexuality; children can also be affected. Today, domestic violence is in ongoing horrible epidemic.

Domestic abuse has many warning signs and symptoms. The abuse is often overlooked, excused, or denied. This is especially true when the abuse is psychological rather than physical. Abusive men show signs of extreme jealousy while trying to keep their spouses isolated, they have an inability to cope with stress, and they show lack of impulse control. They have poor self-image, they blame others for their problems, and they have severe mood swings. They may have a history with drugs or alcohol, prior abuse within their own families, or they may display signs of child/animal cruelty. Threats of violence, breaking or striking objects, verbal abuse, as well as past battering are also signs.

Abused victims' shows signs of guilt, ambivalence, and fear over living condition. They my feel isolated and untrusting of others, even though they may be involved in the community. They can be emotionally and economically dependent, have a poor self-concept (this may have been true before the relationship), and they more then likely have observed other women in their family being abused or they may have been abused as a child. Victims feel angry, embarrassed, and ashamed. They also feel helpless and powerless. Others have unexplained injuries that may go untreated. Noticing and acknowledging these signs is the first step to ending domestic abuse.

There are several different types of domestic abuse. Psychological/emotional, isolation, intimidation, and financial abuse are all included. Psychological/emotional abuse may involve name calling, unfair and constant criticism, and making victims feel that they have no worth. Emotional abuse is often minimized, yet it can leave deep and lasting scars. Physical abuse of a partner may involve hitting, shoving, shaking, restraining, chocking, punching or using a weapon to inflict physical harm. Sexual abuse is the actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, including inappropriate touching, by force or under unequal or coercive conditions. An abuser may resort to threats and intimidation as well. This may include destroying property, wielding weapons, making threatening gestures, or abusing a household pet. Financial control is another tool of an abusive partner. By controlling the victim's access to money and resources, an abuser controls the victim's freedom and access to help.

While domestic violence occurs in all types of relationships, women are more commonly victimized. Many women adjust to life with domestic violence. Shame seems to play a large part in why

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