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Democracy Now! | May 9
Did failings on the part of authorities lengthen the horrific ordeal of the Cleveland kidnap victims? As Ariel Castro makes his first court appeara...
Indian women aren't alone in their experiences of violence. The Japanese government recently released some eyebrow-raising results. In a recent poll of married women, a third say they have experienced some form of abuse in their lifetime. So how did the Japanese public respond to this report? Here's our contributor in Japan, Toshi Maeda, to shed some light on these troubling findings.
A poll result that was released last month revealed that domestic abuse towards women in Japan has not decreased in the past six years. In a country where increasingly strong measures are being taken to prevent violence against women, it's a depressing survey. The government-led research shows that a third of the country's women are believed to have been victims of physical, verbal, or sexual abuse sometime in their lifetime. Those women said concern for their children is the number one reason why they did not leave their abusive partner, followed by financial concerns.
Women across the blogosphere deplored these results:
"Violence against women is something I cannot forgive," this blogger says. "Are Japanese men losing confidence, feeling so oppressed and so insecure?" she wonders.
This female blogger related to the women who could not speak out against abuse:
"Every time someone told me to be tougher, I wondered if everybody else was so strong," she says, hinting that she, too, suffers from some sort of abuse.
Financial advisor Nobue Yamanaka wrote on her blog that the results do not surprise her.
She regularly meets women who have no control over the family's financial management, and encourages women to continue to work, so as to not be too dependent of men. Although most Japanese women today receive equal education and pursue professional careers, many also quit their jobs after marriage. It's still very much the norm that women rely financially on their husbands, so it is hard for women to assert themselves. Some believe that women are also at fault. Most voices on this forum, like this particular commenter, argue that women are not content with "Mr. Nice Guy." This post says that, essentially, women are attracted to men who show strong leadership and are full of confidence, but these men also tend to become violent when things don't go their way. Women, this post says, cannot help making this mistake. Japan is known to be one of the lowest ranking countries in terms of gender equality in the workplace. It ranked only 98th in the Global Gender Gap Report 2011, published by the World Economic Forum. It is also notable that a not-so-insignificant 18 percent of men questioned in the Japanese survey said they have been abused by their female partners. A few decades ago, it would have been rare for Japanese men to admit to anything like that. For LinkAsia, I'm Toshi Maeda in Tokyo.
Domestic violence is widespread around the world. It ranges from a low of 20 percent in some countries to as much as 50 percent in others.