Laws and regulations addressing domestic violence have been formulated mainly to constrain and punish abusers, and also, to protect victims. However, there are thousands upon thousands of battered victims still living under the shadow of domestic violence, and the number increases every second. It is strange that, being around the tremendous number of engagers, I never heard of any one around me being the victim of abuse.
What leads domestic violence to remain largely “invisible”? I believe both external and internal factors matter. There should be no shame imposed on sufferers, while batterers remain unaffected. However, in China, many victims hardly tell their backstories to people due to the circumstance they live in. It’s not easy for them to look for help. Compared to the U.S, there are neither not many civil organizations nor sufficient laws to protect victims from violence. Distrust, lack of information, physical issues they have, inaction of police, and many other reasons lead the victims to remain silent and invisible. Neighbors who are often the ones to hear or witness domestic abuse usually keep their mouth closed instead of giving help.
Given that the problem of domestic violence is a problem of visibility, I want to investigate how we can attune our gaze to account for the ways in which domestic violence occurs as the main theme of my thesis. Domestic abuse is a serious world-wide issue that frequently happens today, but not enough people are paying attention to this social problem. Some of the attention goes into the wrong direction, for example, exposing the victims. The goal of my thesis design is to call out these situations and issues by exploring ways to make visible the various aspects of the issue that have been obscured.