The Vietnam Embassy in South Korea has asked local authorities to deal strictly with domestic assaults on Vietnamese women.
Referring to a recent case of a South Korean man brutally beating up his Vietnamese wife in front of their toddler son, the embassy called for measures to prevent such incidents from happening to other Vietnamese wives.
The 30-year-old Vietnamese woman is safe and receiving treatment at a local hospital for a fractured rib, which is expected to take four weeks. She has been contacted by the Vietnamese Embassy in South Korea, Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said.
A video published last Saturday shows her 36-year-old husband slapping her, kicking her and repeatedly punching her in the head and stomach for three hours last Thursday at their home in Yeongam, South Jeolla Provinceas.
The beating was witnessed by their two-year-old son who was seen crying loudly beside his mother as she crouched in a corner.
The woman had suffered similar assaults before and this time she decided to record it on her cellphone, South Korean media reported.
She then showed the video to a Vietnamese friend, who reported the incident to the police before uploading the video online, the Vietnam News Agency reported.
The husband was arrested on Sunday and is facing charges of battery and violating the South Korean law on child welfare.
Police said the reason for the assault was that the woman could not speak Korean well. The suspect also reportedly told them that he was drunk when he assaulted her.
Anger and shame
The incident has made headlines in both Vietnam and South Korea, with several petitions being uploaded on the website of South Korea’s Blue House calling for the man to be severely punished. These have gathered tens of thousands of signatures.
On South Korean web portals, many expressed shame and anger, saying they feel guilty and hoping that Vietnamese people don’t assume that all South Koreans are violent.
“[The husband] should rot in jail,” said a comment on the U.S.-based Korean pop blog allkpop.
“The way she held out her arms to comfort her son after being beaten was so heartbreaking. As a mother, I can’t imagine my crying child being inches from me yet unable to hold her for fear of her getting hit too,” wrote another.
Many Vietnamese rallied behind the woman on Vietnamese online platforms, expressing their support and encouraging her to return to Vietnam.
South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon has expressed regret over the brutal assault, saying he was sorry for the incident, Yonhap News Agency reported. Min Gap-ryong, commissioner general of the Korean National Police Agency, has promised a “thorough investigation and rehabilitation for the victim.”
Vietnam has overtaken China as the country sending the largest number of brides to South Korea, according to the South Korean embassy in Hanoi. Around 6,000 Vietnamese women have been marrying South Koreans every year for the last few years.
Many Vietnamese women from poor rural families have been marrying South Korean men in the hope of finding a better life in the wealthy nation. But it has not always been a fairy-tale ending and there have been reports of suicides and fatal beatings.
According to a National Human Rights Commission of Korea survey of 920 foreign brides last year, including those from Cambodia, China, the Philippines, Uzbekistan and Vietnam, 42.1 percent said they had experienced domestic violence and 68 percent had experienced unwanted sexual advances. 20 percent were threatened with weapons and 19 were killed the past 10 years.