Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Domestic Violence in Korea

I have to blog about this because a couple next door kept me up the other night. It is very common for men to beat their wives and children. I have heard three couples arguing around my building in the middle of the night.

The first couple was fighting in the middle of the street. They were both screaming at each other for about an hour! In the states that would not last longer than 5 minutes! The cops would be there telling you to take that shit in the house. Or the cops would take the woman's side and tell the man to calm down and leave. Not in Korea! You can yell and hit your significant other as much as you like.

The second couple woke me up at 4 a.m. At first I thought they were having sex because the woman sounded like she was moaning. I thought nothing of it so I tried to go back to sleep. The moaning got louder and louder so now I was wide awake and waiting for her to finish so I wouldn't have to hear her anymore. 45 minutes go by she still not done. I begin to think damn Koreans can last. I was jealous! The moaning started sounding more like sobbing and then picked up into screaming. Now I heard a second voice for the first time. It was a man screaming. This went on for about two hours. You can imagine how grumpy I was the next day!

I heard the third couple around the same time. I was woken up by another woman screaming AGAIN! This time there was glass being broken. I have lived here for three months now, so I decided to do what Koreans do and go back to sleep.

After listening to my students tell me about their parents hitting them if they get bad grades, I reconsider the grades I give them before I log them into the computer. In the states, if the child tells you they are being abused you immediately have to report it or else you can get in huge trouble. Not in Korea! The kids come in with bruises and the teachers just ignore them because it so common and there is nothing that we can do about it.

The kids have also told me that when their dads come home from work drunk and angry they hit them. They laugh about it because they are used to it! One of them told me, "When my dad drinks soju, he starts off happy, then he gets sad, then he gets angry and hits me." What was I suppose to say after hearing that?

I suppose this happens everywhere in the world. As a teacher, I am not used to hearing my students talk about abuse so freely in a normal conversation.

The next type of abuse happens in the classroom! Korean teachers are allowed to hit the students!!!! Not at private English academies! Although some kids annoy me sometimes and it would be nice to discipline some of them when they get out of hand, I can't touch them. :( LOL JK I can't see myself disciplining someone's kid with physical abuse anyways. I'll leave that up to the parents.

One of my students told me about this ancient teacher that hits the kids on a daily basis for NO REASON. This is ridiculous. I understand pulling a kid by the ear to scare him a little for not following directions or for not following along during guided reading. LOL JK But dragging a student by the hair because they didn't answer a question correctly is a little absurd. I asked my student if she reported it to her parents and she said she did. Her parents and other parents have complained about this teacher, but there is nothing they can do because it is allowed in Korea!