From Cover Ups to First Responders

KorAm Journal reports on KFAM’s Domestic Violence Conference 

Domestic Violence has long been a scourge of the Korean American community. KorAm Journal reports that 80% of all Asian domestic violence cases in Los Angeles involve Korean Americans. Also, in a 2000 study, Shimtuh found  42% of those surveyed report knowing another Korean woman who was being or had been abused at the hands of her partner.

Sadly, Korean American churches have a reputation as havens for spousal abusers. The church’s response has too often taken the form of telling female abuse victims, “This is your test from God, this is your cross to bear.” Or mistaking forgiveness for a call to cover-up, taking on an attitude of “Let’s not talk about it, let’s forget it.” [1]

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K. Samuel Lee. Photo Credit: KorAm Journal

The good news is that the tide is shifting. Korean American leaders in the community and the church are working to change old patterns of abuse and cover-up, turning former enablers into effective first responders. KFAM’s Domestic Violence Conference, led by Dr. K. Samuel Lee worked to promote a new attitude among Korean American clergy to “be a sanctuary for victims… to be a place of helping, healing and hope.”

Dr. Andrew Sung Park also addresses the problem of DV in Asian American Christianity in his SANACS Journal Article “Healing the Wound of Asian American Families in the Context of Confucianism and Christianity.” Dr. Park’s article spells out an integrated response to the issues of sexism, suicide, child abuse and domestic violence.

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[1] Quotes taken from Dr. K. Samuel Lee’s presentation at KFAM conference.

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