Strategies for Preventing Domestic Abuse in Chinese Immigrant Communities

  • Yung Hsien Ng Tam Fordham University


There is a dearth of research on the topic of domestic abuse in Chinese American communities. Prior studies suggest that domestic abuse occurs in approximately 14% of Chinese women and that this number is likely underreported due to cultural factors (Hicks, 2006). Moreover, Asian American women may be less likely to seek help or to leave abusive relationships when they encounter them, which takes a toll on their mental health and overall well-being (Nguyen et al., 2016). To contribute to the literature on domestic abuse experienced by Chinese Americans, this paper presents and analyzes two case studies of Chinese American women who experienced repeated instances of domestic abuse in order to understand their motivations and rationale for staying in these abusive relationships and to uncover some of the factors fostering domestic abuse. Results showed that the Chinese American women cited preserving the family unit or name, and their feelings for the husband as reasons that they stayed. They also expressed a belief in male dominance, which prior research has shown is correlated to increased tolerance for domestic violence (Jiao, Sun, Farmer, & Lin, 2016; Lin, Sun, Wu, & Liu, 2016). This paper identified the use of community education programs that seek to restructure family relationships and strengthen women’s positions in the family as a preventive strategy that respects the importance of families in Chinese communities while attempting to decrease violent behavior towards women and the prevalence of domestic violence in this community.


            Keywords: domestic abuse, intimate partner violence, Chinese American

Author Biography

Yung Hsien Ng Tam, Fordham University
Yung Hsien Ng Tam is a MSW student at Fordham University. She is interested in women's issues, mental health, and community-oriented work, especially as these topics relate to Chinese immigrant communities.


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