It is found that human rights of migrant women married to South Koreans are violated at a serious level as intermarriage sharply rises up.
The Korean human rights center for migrant women President: HanKook Lyeom) revealed the results of the human rights of the intermarriage migrant women on the basis of more than 100 counseling cases a month at its four human rights center branches and migrant women in seven different areas on September in 2008.
◆ The marriage cases by ‘the intermarriage middleman are 37%
When asked why they decided to get married to South Koreans, interviewees replied like that. ▲ I thought my husband seemed to be a good man. (28.9%) ▲ I love my husband. (16%) ▲ I expected to economically lead a better life (19.1%) ▲ To support my parents economically (14.9%)
The route to meet a husband is ▲ by an intermarriage middleman (37%) ▲ by parents, brothers or sisters, or one who is well acquainted with a migrant woman (34.3%) ▲ in person (10%) ▲ by a religious group (7%)
Asked of the intermarriage introduction cost, they replied as follows ▲ Their husbands paid for it. (40.2%) ▲ the couple paid the intermarriage cost together (13%) ▲ Both sides didn’t pay for it. (24.6%)
In case that their husbands paid for it, each nation shows the following statistics. ▲ Russia (87.5%) ▲ Thailand (53%) ▲ Cambodia (50%) ▲ Philippines (43.6%)
In case that their husbands paid for it, the figures vary according to their age. The number of women under 24 is largest, accounting for 50.3% and the younger women are the more likely their husbands are to pay for it and they are to meet more men.
Sungui Kang, Secretary General at the Korea Human Rights center for migrant women said, “At the beginning of 2000, as the Korean culture wave enjoyed fanatic responses from South-East Asia, making young women out there fall into an illusion that all of South Korean men are wonderful, a migrant woman meets her would-husband only once or twice and immediately get married.
What is worse, a broker brags about her husband’s image and his economic situations before their marriage. But the reality is that a large number of migrant women are suffering from numerous difficulties due to unexpected intermarriage situations, husband’s job, a very different culture life, and others.”
They are faced with a language barrier, and they can’t easily accept the way a decision is made in the South Korean culture, where parents and their children are closely bonded and parents have a stronger voice.
47% of the migrant women married to South Korean men live with their parents-in-law because their husbands cannot make enough money, a higher number compared with that of the Korean couple’s households.
Ms. Kang said, “A young migrant woman married to South Korean man is emotionally sensitive, is concerned with fashion, and enjoys chatting with friends as young Koreans in their 20s do.
But her husband in his 40s or his parents can’t easily accept the young wife’s life style or character.” Ms. Kang added, “Their husbands and their parents-in-law need to make efforts to understand and help such sensitive migrant women in their 20s.”
◆ Intermarriage couples going through conflicts caused by different life styles, personal characters, their husband’s house, and economic issues
Migrant women quarrel with their husbands because of ▲ different life style (18.5%) ▲character difference (17.2%) ▲ husband’s home troubles (8.9%) ▲ economic problems (8.3%) ▲drinking problems (6.4%). 20.2% of respondents said that they do not argue with husbands.
Those who quarrel with each other due to lifestyle differences show different percentage according to their nationality. The statistics show as follows: Philippines (32.1%), Mongol (28.6%), and Cambodia (25%). The case of character difference is 40.9% for Korean-Chinese wives.
◆ 22.2% of respondents experience domestic violence in any form.
Asked whether an intermarriage migrant woman experiences domestic violence, 53.6% didn’t respond. Among the respondents, only 24.2 percents say there is no violence at all, which means that 22.2% of them may have been abused in one or another type.
In case of domestic violence, ▲ 10.1 % - ‘Husband threw away or broke house goods’ ▲ 9.8% - ‘Husband harasses wife by insulting or humiliating her.’ ▲5.8% - slapping or kicking wife ▲5.8% - threatening wife, saying making her go back home by canceling husband’s personal reference ▲ 5.2% - threatening to beat her
It was found that husbands over 45 have a higher violence frequency than those under 45 and 24.4% of respondents experience violence almost everyday, once or twice a week, and twice a month.
As wife’s response to husband’s violence, ▲ 14% of 33.3% responded ‘I put up with it.’ ▲ 11% responded ‘I call for others’ help. ▲ 4.5% responded ‘I simply beg. ▲ 4.5% responded ‘I fight with husband’.
In case that wife does not acquire citizenship, ▲ ‘I put up with domestic violence’ (15.9%) ▲ ‘I simply beg’ (4.5%) while wife with citizenship gets targeted relatively less as a victim of domestic violence.
When a migrant woman is physically mistreated, they ask for help to friends (37.9%) police (27.6%), counseling centers (13.6%), and neighbors (13.8%).
◆ 16 % of respondents seriously consider getting divorced.
Asked whether you have ever considered getting divorced from your husband, 60.4% said ‘No.’, but 16% responded that they ever seriously did, already filed a lawsuit against husband to be divorced, or were in divorce.
It was found that Mongol, Thailand, or Korean-Chinese migrant women seriously considered divorce. ▲ Those who acquired Korean citizenship – 18.2% ▲ Those who have babies - 15.4% ▲ In case that Husband is a farmer
The biggest reason for filing a lawsuit against husband to get divorced or consider divorce is ▲ husband parents’ excessive intervention – 18.4% ▲ husband’s harsh words or ignorance – 9.3% ▲ alcohol addiction – 6.7% ▲ husband’s economic inability – 5.3%
What is surprising to us is that among reasons why they were forced to consider divorce ‘husband’s home’s excessive impacts’ account for high percents. ▲ Korean-Chinese and Chinese – 47.5% ▲ Mongols – 20% ▲ Vietnamese – 19%
It was found that in particular, in farming areas, parents’ excessive intervention is higher than the average, amounting to 31.3%. The percentage of divorce resulting from husband’s violence and laissezi-faire amounted to 25%.
In case of Korean-Chinese wives, 33.3% of them are considering divorce or in divorce mainly because of economic problems, 16.7% alcohol addiction, and 17.7% gambling.
◆ Counseling boundary of migrant women
When counseling boundary survey of migrant women married to South Korea is observed by Korean human rights center for migrant women and emergency center for migrant women ▲ counseling of sojourn matters related to obtaining citizenship or nationality ▲ counseling of migrant women's social welfare such as labor, social life, and property ▲ counseling of her husband's home or violation of human rights related to pregnancy, childbirth, child – upbringing ▲ a counseling of a divorce lawsuit against husband ▲ a counseling of domestic violence ▲ a counseling of damages by marriage middlemen
An official with the Korean human right center for migrant women said, "In 2015 to 2020, the number of multi-cultural families will amount to around 50% out of the total in rural areas. But it is highly unlikely that gender equality or multi-culture will be fully understood. Also migrant women who are poor at speaking Korean are rarely guaranteed economic rights, making their lives harder and harder."
- Written in Korean by Reporter Heejung Kim
- Translated and edited by Reporter Heesoo Jung
- Translated and edited by Reporter Heesoo Jung