January 8, 2010

CHINA: 50 percent of lesbians experience domestic violence: survey

. BEIJING, China / Global Times / China Society / January 8, 2010 By Lin Meilian Nearly 50 percent of lesbians in the country have been victims of domestic violence at the hands of their own families and partners. However, many of them are reluctant to seek help from professionals, a survey revealed. The survey, released by Common Language, a support group for lesbians, bisexual women and trans-gendered people, showed that about half of 500 respondents in eight cities said they experienced various forms of abuses, including physical and psychological assault and forced sex. It is the first time that the support group, which is sponsored by the China Law Society, released such data. Some 163 out of the 500 respondents entered into a marriage relationship with someone of the opposite sex, and 25 percent of them were abused by the opposite sex partners. Miss Z, who participated in the survey, said her brother blamed her for bringing shame to the family after her intimate relationship with a female classmate was revealed. "My teacher who caught me having an intimate relationship with my girlfriend turned me in to my parents," she said. "I remember one day my brother yelled 'go to hell, lesbian' in front of our neighbors." Love Play in China However, more than 50 percent of the lesbians affected by domestic abuses prefer to turn to friends instead of social organizations for help. The support group director Xu Bin told the Global Times that the lesbians are reluctant to discuss their problems. "It is very hard to conduct such a survey in China as homosexuals are considered to be a social taboo," Xu said. "It is even harder to ask them to tell us stories as they think the survey might rub salt into their bleeding wounds." Xu added that the perception that one should not discuss their problems and reveal their dark side to others is still deeply rooted. "That's why many try to solve the problem by themselves," Xu said. Xu suggested that a domestic violence law should be enacted as early as possible to ease the pain of abused women, and lesbians and bisexual women should be protected from abuse by the legal system. [rc] Copyright by Global Times © 2007-2010