Jul 31, 2008

Hmong: DVD to address domestic violence

Sample ImageThe Hmong community in Wausau campaign to tackle domestic violence in a creative way.


Below is an article published by the Wausau Daily Herald :

Providing information to Wausau-area Hmong residents about how to fight domestic violence can be difficult, so officials plan to use a DVD to spread the message.

Local officials, community leaders and prevention advocates gathered Tuesday [29 July 2008] to announce the distribution of about 1,000 Hmong-language DVDs -- possibly the first of their kind nationwide -- informing people in the Hmong community how to address domestic violence.

"They don't know what's available out there," said Peter Yang, executive director of the Wausau Area Hmong Mutual Association.

The DVD depicts incidents of domestic violence in the Hmong and Caucasian communities. It also discusses the consequences of domestic violence and available resources, officials said.

The project cost about $8,000 and drew public funding from the city, county and state levels, as well as the Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin.

Speakers at Tuesday's [29 July 2008] event said domestic violence is a problem among all cultures and races, but that the DVD breaks down lingual and cultural barriers.

Thomas Lee, director of the Wausau-Marathon County Diversity Affairs Office, said the Hmong community has a tradition of solving issues within families as opposed to engaging the system.

"It's new to many of the (families)," he said.

In 2006, there were 703 reported incidents of domestic violence in Marathon County, a nearly 67 percent increase from 1997, according to the Life in Marathon County report.

The Hmong community has experienced two murders related to domestic violence since 2006, with at least four in the Caucasian community during the same period.

Local officials, including Mayor Jim Tipple and Marathon County Administrator Brad Karger, commended the efforts of those involved in the DVD project. Jane Graham Jennings, executive director of The Women's Community, said Hmong leaders deserve recognition for addressing the issue publicly, with much of the community holding its people "under the microscope."

"This did take some courage," she said.