The Hmong: Slow to change

The Hmong community is slowly turning around---and I do stress the word "slowly."  It has taken the patriarchal Hmong society 30 years in the US to finally realize that we have a problem with domestic violence (DV). In July of this year, a conference called “Breaking the Silence Collaboratively: Creating Healthy Families for the Present & Future”…

Hmong murder-suicides

In November 1998, Young Sayaxang Lee (37) fatally shot his wife, Maichao Vang (28), and also shot and killed himself.  The oldest daughter (11) discovered her mother's body in the bedroom of their home and called 911.  Police discovered Young's body in the basement. In 2006, Joanne Khang (25) was stabbed to death by her…

Hmong views on domestic violence

The Hmong are very resistant to change.  It’s because of our refusal to change our culture that we were in war with the Chinese for such a long time.  In Asia, the Hmong mainly live in remote regions, so they practice their culture with no interference.  They are slower to assimilate.  In America, we live…

Traditional Hmong weddings and marriages

The Hmong consists of 18 last (sur) names, making up 18 official clans.  It is taboo to marry someone from the same clan.  For instance, someone with the Yang last name cannot marry another Yang.  In some families, it is also taboo to marry someone with the same clan name as your mother's maiden name.…

The Hmong patriarchy and values

The Hmong culture is very patriarchal.  The men make the rules and the women follow them.  The men are the clan leaders.  The men are the head of the families.  The men make all the “big” decisions.  Sons are valuable assets to a family because they are the ones who will carry on the clan…

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer and Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the United States.  I am dedicating this month's blog posts to something that I am very passionate about: Domestic Violence (DV), especially in the Hmong community.  Each blog entry during this month will be a segment of how Hmong traditions/traditional norms set the state for…