‘It happens to us too’ sparks conversations

Last Thursday MayTong Chang from Transforming Generations shed light on domestic violence issues in the Hmong community with the “It happens to us too” event at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Chang, the event’s host, educated those who may not know about the difference between various cultures when talking about domestic abuse. 

She discussed her experience working with women of color, especially Asian women, in the metro area as they are based in St. Paul.

“This is an opportunity to learn and gender-based violence and domestic violence happens to all cultures,” said Chang, the advocacy program director of Transforming Generations. “As a survivor you can also heal, it takes a whole lifetime to heal and anything can trigger you.” 

Teaching adult-based education before transitioning into an advocacy position, Chang started working as a legal advocate which then turned into her wanting to work with survivors.

“As I was healing, I was also making connections with these women who came to me, and that’s when I knew that I wanted to make a change in other survivors’ lives. I knew how unfair it is for Hmong women in our community because of the patriarchal society that we live in. I wanted to make sure that if nobody heard that at least I could be one of them,” Chang shared. 

Some incidents she talked about in the event included forced marriage practices, victims of incest and domestic abuse within relationships. 

Also discussed were Asian women and their expected role as a vessel to have children despite their personal wishes. This idea stems from childhood where they are usually being taught to be obedient to the men. 

Victim blaming was another key issue discussed as this discourages women from speaking up about their abuse. 

“The community and society always teach that victims should know better, but we all know that isn’t true and we need to start teaching those who cause harm to stop,” Chang said.

Some consequences of speaking out about one’s abuse could result in shunning of their family and friends and may affect their marital potential. 

Transforming Generations works with survivors who have been shunned while also understanding the barriers that protect men from being held accountable, and the gaps in the legal system.

Also voiced during the webinar is that some survivors do not know the support or resources they need.

“Helping people practice mindfulness, self-awareness and consciousness while working together to solve real problems is a couple of things we talk about in our youth program,” Schoua Na, Youth Organizing coordinator, said.

The Youth program is just one of the programs a part of Transforming Generations starting last year along with others such as the Queer Justice and Community Advocacy program.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.