Campus News

Social work professor addresses domestic violence in the Korean American community

Joon Choi, an associate professor in the School of Social Work, researches domestic violence prevention, and shared her work with WTKR.

A year ago, eight Asian women were killed in Atlanta, and since then there have been conversations about violence against Asian Americans, and objectification and stereotypes. Choi’s research examines some of this violence, specifically asking how faith leaders play into that conversation in the Korean American community.

Places of worship have played a part in immigrant communities for decades, offering a place where they can ask questions, get help finding jobs, housing or social programs and speak their native tongue.

Choi said this is true, “whether that’s a mosque or a temple or a church. And for the Korean American population, that is exactly the same.”

“From my experiences working as a counselor for domestic violence survivors and American domestic violence survivors, I found that many of them reach out to their ministers for help,” said Choi.

Choi says that while many religious leaders would like to help women and survivors, they often don’t have the tools or resources to do so. Some say that the religious leaders don’t always know the signs of domestic violence either and therefore can’t help survivors find help.

Choi has partnered with other domestic violence officials to create a training course for clergy, in Korean, that teaches prevention and intervention for addressing domestic violence.

“It really helps them to see what types of responses they provide to these survivors, how they can be helpful or unhelpful for them,” said Choi. “This is really a campaign that’s targeting people to speak up against domestic violence and also when they see survivors reaching out and then actually helping survivors to connect to services.”