In the Adopted Land: Abused Immigrant Women and the Criminal Justice System

By Hoan N. Bui | Go to book overview

3

CONTACTS WITH CRIMINAL JUSTICE AGENCIES

On the day of the pretrial, the victim advocate couldn't find a translator for me, and I had to ask my neighbor to help me at the court…. My husband accepted his fault and wanted me to ask the judge for leniency on his behalf. I had planned to say good things about him, but the judge didn't ask me or say anything to me as I had been told by the victim advocate…. The judge ordered my husband to come back two weeks later, but he didn't ask me to appear with my husband, and I didn't know why. I wanted to ask, but a woman official told me that the hearing was over, and I didn't need to return…. I didn't understand English and the law, and my neighbor wasn't much better than me. So, both of us didn't understand much of what was going on at the hearing.

(Interview with Hue)

American life provides many new experiences for Vietnamese immigrants. More specifically, resettlement in the United States opens new possibilities for Vietnamese women that have been previously unavailable or traditionally suppressed in their country of origin. Educational and employment opportunities have helped Vietnamese women gain economic power, increase their status in the family, and better balance relationships with their husbands/partners. Laws prohibiting child abuse and intimate violence in the United States are also new to Vietnamese immigrants whose family traditions sanctioned wife beating and the use of corporal punishment of children. Because law and individual behavior reflect social values, the view that domestic violence is a crime that should be handled by the criminal justice system seems to be at odds with Vietnamese cultural traditions and gender practices that emphasize family privacy and women's subordination to men. Yet, through the process of adaptation, Vietnamese immigrants have been made aware

-45-

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In the Adopted Land: Abused Immigrant Women and the Criminal Justice System
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Series Foreword vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - Family Lives in Transition 17
  • 3 - Contacts with Criminal Justice Agencies 45
  • 4 - When Victims Become Offenders 71
  • 5 - Women's Safety and Family Life 93
  • Notes 112
  • 6 - Women's Differences and Social Policies 113
  • Appendix A 127
  • Appendix B 137
  • Bibliography 139
  • Index 151
  • About the Author 155
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