Domestic violence takes place everywhere and can victimize all kinds of people regardless of race, class, religion, age, gender and educational attainment. But most often, it is the women who suffer more particularly from their partners.

Women in the Asian region are no strangers to violence. Many have been physically, emotionally and sexually abused and this problem continues until today. Mostly Filipinas, Indian, Thai and Pakistani women are often reported as victims.

The Asian and Pacific Islander Institute of Domestic Violence (APIIDV) estimates that from 41 to 61 percent of Asian women claimed to have suffered physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner during their lifetime. A national study noted this rate is much higher compared to the whites (21.3 percent), African Americans (26.3 percent) and Hispanics (21.2 percent) among others.

Domestic violence extends beyond physical harm. In some cases, this leads to homicide with majority initiated by men. A six-year study by APIIDV showed that 160 cases in Asian families resulted in 226 fatalities majority involving adults (72 percent) followed by children (10 percent). The research also noted that 83 percent of homicide perpetrators were men and only 14 percent were women.

In Asia, women in China, India, the Philippines, Pakistan and Thailand among others. In the Philippines alone, violence against women (VAW) cases went up to nearly 50 percent in 2013 compared to the previous year, the highest number to be reported to the Philippine National Police since 1997. During a 10-year period starting in 2004, the rise in cases jumped from 218 to 16,517 in 2013.

“Victims of domestic violence can always file a personal injury case against the suspect,” said injury attorney Daniel Gibalevich. “They can do this by working with a private lawyer or with the help of a law enforcement agency where they initially reported their problem.”

Laws on Domestic Violence

While domestic violence continues unabated in Asia, appropriate actions have been taken to curb the problem. Governments of Asian countries have passed laws as a bid to address the issue and prevent the occurrence of more cases moving forward.

China drafted its first national law against domestic violence in 2014 providing a clear definition of the issue and guidance on the issuance of restraining orders. The law requires that police should immediately respond to reports of domestic violence while courts should rule on restraining orders within two days. State media has reported that almost 40 percent of Chinese women whether married or in a relationship have been a victim of abuse.

Thailand has also a law in place but despite its government’s efforts to protect women citizens, the rate of domestic violence cases continue to increase. The National Institute for Child and Family Development of Thailand’s Mahidol University stressed the rise in violence in the country is due to several social and economic factors including social conditioning and upbringing with men being made to believe that they should be macho and dominant over women.

The Philippine government, for its part, has implemented a law called the Anti-Violence Against Women Act passed in 2004. It has passed other laws to protect women and has set up help desk centers at various government agencies to assist women victims. In addition, private and non-profit organizations have launched campaigns to help female survivors and their families.