Domestic violence in Hmong community highlighted in memorial service

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A memorial was held in Wausau, celebrating Dr. Pa Nhia Vue who was murdered in Altoona in June. The memorial touched on her life as well as national movement to end domestic violence.

The event was sponsored by The Women's Community, Inc; Eau Claire Bolton Refuge House; and SILENCE of Hmong Village, and Citizens Against Domestic Violence.

It featured speakers Tou Ger Bennett Xiong, Community Activist; Paula Yang, CEO Sisterhood of Fresno, CA; Douachee Vang, CEO of Women of Love and Fire; Andrea Bennett Xiong, Mrs. Minnesota 2013, Love is Not Abuse Coalition; Katherine Vang, Director of Hmong Village Inc.; and other Survivors of Domestic Violence

According to organizers, the memorial service celebrated Dr. Pa Nhia Vue's life as a mother, daughter, sister, friend, and accomplished human being. It addressed issues of domestic violence, gender equality, and burial rights for Hmong women.

In the event's press release:
Her Story: Dr. Pa Nhia Vue was murdered on June 11, 2013 by her husband Ying Xiong. After strangling her to death, he dragged her lifeless body to a shed in the back yard and burned her. The husband is currently in custody and awaiting trial. In the Hmong Community, domestic violence is an issue that no one wants to talk about because some still carry the mindset that a man has the right to discipline his wife which is in fact a serious violation of inter-clan marriage-obligation in Hmong culture.

The Hmong culture states that the husband's family is responsible for the funeral of a deceased wife, even if she is estranged. However, Ying Xiong's family refused to take responsibility and failed to hold a proper Hmong funeral for Dr. Pa Nhia Vue. In the end, her oldest son - with the help of Eau Claire Bolton Refuge House - had to claim her body and bury her with nothing more than a wake. Traditionally, the fate of a Hmong woman who dies like Dr. Pa Nhia is the marital responsibility of her married Clan to ensure that she is properly buried with dignity. We cannot let her suffer these injustices in vain. Now is the time to work towards equality.

Donations to the Dr. Pa Nhia Vue's Children Fund can be made to: The Women's Community, Inc.; 3200 Hilltop Ave; Wausau, WI 54401.

"The reality is that as Hmong men, we enjoy certain male privileges and will NEVER truly understand what some women go through," said Tou Ger Bennett Xiong, Hmong comedian and social activist, "but that doesn't mean we can't support, listen, and stand by them in their battle for equality."

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