Hmong community hosts 'end the silence' workshop on domestic violence

Members of the Hmong community in St. Paul spoke out about domestic violence in front of a panel of experts saying cultural differences have allowed abuse in their community to get out of hand.

The Hmong 18 Council hosted the event on Saturday at local to hear about the community's concerns and offer resources to try and help. 

The event had been planned since January, but given the wake of a recent tragedy, it shows how important the issue is for the community to talk about domestic violence. On March 10, 36-year-old Jennifer Yang was killed by her partner during a murder-suicide in Andover. Yang was a mother to three children, said police. 

Yang’s sister and brother were in attendance on Saturday, and they demanded answers on what will be done to address the domestic violence problem they now understand all too well.

"The system did not support her. That’s why we are here," Yang’s sister told the panel. "But I have not seen anything up here that gave me any answers as to why my sister had to die senselessly last week. None of this had to happen."

Community members say the problem is people are looking the other way when abusive spouses victimize their partners. Event organizer Cheng Va Vue said the way to change that is to talk about the issues, find solutions and offer a variety of resources.

"We want to do whatever we can to help the community recover, grow and become healthy," Vue said.

The Hmong 18 Council will continue to offer domestic violence and mental health workshops every two months. The next event is planned for May.

If you or someone you know is facing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or visit the hotline’s website to chat with an expert.