When I talked with my mother about the abuse by my husband, she told me not to call the police. She was afraid that when the police came, everybody in the neighborhood would know about the problem. She said that a woman's life belonged to her husband, and that a woman should accept her fate and be patient to avoid family conflicts. 1
(Interview with Hue)
The situation that Hue faced reflects those of many abused Vietnamese immigrant women. As first-generation immigrants, Hue and many other Vietnamese in the United States tend to conform to Vietnamese cultural values and practices. However, the legacy of war that caused their journey to the United States and the process of resettlement and adaptation also have had important impacts on their experiences with life in the new land. This chapter presents a history of the Vietnamese in the United States, some background on Vietnamese culture and family traditions, and the immigration context of women's experiences of and responses to abuse.
The intense involvement of the United States in the Vietnam War led to the immigration of almost a million Vietnamese to America in the 25 years following the end of the Vietnam War and the victory of Vietnamese communists in 1975. Beginning with the first major group of 125,000 Vietnamese refugees coming to the United States in early 1975, the Vietnamese-American population has increased substantially over time and has become one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in