Victims of domestic violence, Korean students’ spouse
Bostonkorea  2010-04-05, 14:48:29 
HyunChon Kim
Translated by Kelly Choi

ATASK, addressed serious domestic violence in Korean community
ATASK, “No one deserves to be abused”

Recently, several serious domestic abuse cases were reported among Korean student couples in Boston, one of the most scholarly cities in the U.S.

According to Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence (ATASK), more domestic violence cases have been reported among Korean intellectuals, such as students in Master’s and Ph.D programs. Some husbands use violence against their wives to deal with their own social stresses, particularly stress due to inadequate finances or other unmet expectations.

At leaset 10 cases were reported to ATASK, and it shows domestic violence in Korean community in Boston is an issue. One victim of domestic violence, we’ll call her Mrs. Lee, said in an interview with Boston Korea on March 31 that ATASK helped her in various ways.

“There was no hope. The only thing I could think about was whether or not to commit suicide,” said Mrs.Lee recalling her experience escaping from her house 4 years ago. She said she now thinks about what she will do with her future and how to raise her child.

ATASK provided a shelter for Mrs. Lee and helped her to clear legal issues with her ex-husband, and to apply for housing aid to live with her child. Her child, a toddler 4 years ago, now attends preschool. She is staying in the US legally and planning to apply for a green card with ATASK’s help.

An ATASK employee confessed that he still remembers when he first saw Mrs.Lee. She came to ATASK with a baby over her shoulder and extremely unstable. She had been obsessed with the fear that her husband might chase her down and take away at any moment. She was verbally, psychologically, and physically abused for 2 years, and finally decided to escape her ex-husband when he threatened her with a deadly weapon. Her child is still under psychotherapy.

Domestic violence is particularly a dangerous issue for women without stable legal visa status. Another victim, who also asked for anonymity so we refer to her as Mrs. Park, said in an interview with Boston Korea that she entered to the U.S with a tourist visa and got married to a citizen. Her ex-husband lured her with a green card and abused her. With the help from ATASK, she escaped from the violence and now has permanent resident status.

As in Mrs. Park’s case, when both the marriage and abuse are proven ATASK can help the victim to find ways to support herself, and to apply for a green card. According to ATASK, the WABA (Violence Against Women Act) ensures women are protected, even in such cases. It can be applicable to cases when the marriage was with green card holder.

ATASK has offered assistance to more than 450 female Asian abuse victims in the New England region.
Regardless of visa status, ATASK is ready to give assistance to Asian women in danger. ATASK provides a shelter, English classes, legal service, and helps victims to find housing aid, food stamps, and cash assistance. If needed, ATASK also provides job training and job opportunities as well.

ATASK emphasizes that it is an organization whose mission is helping women to escape from violence. Victims of violence can find assistance from ATASK to achieve them, but the organization is concerned about misleading information portraying it as a “fixer” organization, which it is not. ATASK also stressed that their service is provided only when it is clear that domestic violence has been committed against the victim.

Eun-hee Kim, a Korean advocate for the organization, had this to say: “ATASK is a non-profit organization keeping privacy. Nobody deserves to be abused.”
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