[The Korean's note: the following email has been edited for privacy and other concerns.]
My name is [REDACTED], Filipina and I've been in Korea for almost three years. Yes, three years of hardships in understanding your culture through the family of my husband.
I met my Korean husband through a Wedding Match in the Philippines. I don't actually know about "Wedding Match". I passed all the questions and answers. My husband, with the help of an interpreter, told me that he has a mother (73 yrs. old), and 4 kids from his first wife. Only 3 children (twin girls of 19 years old and a son of 10 years old) are with him because the first born chose to live with her mother. He is divorced since 2003. So his mother is the one who takes care of the 3 while he is the one who provides for their needs.
I didn't have any second thought of not choosing this man (46 yearrs old at that time), since he got older kids who (I thought) knew already how to take care of themselves and have responsibilities and initiatives.
My struggles started when I woke up the next morning. There were many garbages in their veranda, used cups/plates on the floor. Used towels/clothes in front of the bathroom door. Even panty with blood was left inside the bathroom (would you believe?). That's not all--when I visited the twins room (they went out already), GOSH! the clothes were scattered on the floor, even their makeup, everything as in EVERYTHING! Is this a house of responsible people?
I didn't know their language then and my husband inculcated on my mind, "What you see here is Korean style." I told to myself, "AHH, KOREAN STYLE - LAZY AND DIRTY PEOPLE!" I just shrugged my shoulders and did all the household chores. His mother was the one who cooked the food and I was the one who cleaned. But after cleaning, laundrying, and throwing the garbage, the dirtiness started again when the kids (actually they are not kids anymore) arrived home. I was waiting for their halmoni to say a word, but my waiting was futile.
The scene in that house was the same everyday. As days passed by, little by little, I learned the language and met some Korean people. So, a good chance to confirm if the style in our house was their style also. They all said, "NO, ARE YOU A FOOL? WHY ARE YOU DOING THOSE THINGS! YOU ARE THE WIFE AND NOT THEIR MAID! Remember, they still have their mother."
From those words, I began to change my being "maid" to them for almost two years and I let their halmoni do all their things: laundry, throwing the garbages, washing their plates, etc. Because of my "rebellious" ways, my husband and I are always fighting. He said, why do I let his mother do all those things, she's old already and has a backache. I retaliated, "If that so, why she doesn't she command her grandchildren to help her?"
And with that, I will close this letter with a question, "Why some Korean men beat their wives (my husband beat me twice).
I am not joking when I say this: LEAVE YOUR HUSBAND. NOW.
I'm terribly sorry to tell you, but Korean men (in Korea -- I am a Korean-American myself) would never marry a Southeastern Asian like yourself if they had a choice. Your husband went to Wedding Match because NO KOREAN WOMAN WOULD MARRY HIM. There's probably a reason for that, and what you described shows the reason.
Again, I'm sorry to be crude, but your husband went to Wedding Match exactly because he needed a maid whom he can have sex with. That's all he wants out of you, and he will continue to treat you that way.
Please see an older post of mine. Your husband is basically the same type of guy in the article. He thinks he spent a good amount of money bringing you into Korea, and he will get mad when he thinks he is not getting his "money's worth."
Don't believe any of the bullshit your husband says about "Korean style". As you know already, it is a lie. The same goes for his violence -- he is not beating you because he is a Korean, he is beating you because he is a bad person who thinks he can buy people.
You must leave your husband. If you need help finding any battered women shelter or free counseling service, I would be happy to help. Best of luck, and keep in touch.
Thank you very very much for giving attention to my letter, and also for offering a help.
I want to bring my baby in the Philippines and go back here to work. Is that possible? I'm not a Korean citizen yet. We filed our citizenship a year ago. And some of my friends who got their citizenship already told me that I have to wait this year (November) for the release of my citizenship. Is it possible to divorce him because of the reasons I've mentioned to you? Can I get an alimony for that? How about the beatings?
If I stay here more, there is a possibility that he can do that again if I don't want to embrace their Korean "style" in our house. You advised me to leave him. If you give me answers to my above-mentioned reasons, I will leave him AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!
Thank you and waiting for your reply.
Okay folks, if you read this far, the Korean needs your help. The best that the Korean can do sitting in New York is some Google searches, and that is not enough. The Korean knows that some of you guys live in Korea. Be a good person and boost your karma. Please send the Korean any information about free legal clinic, battered women shelter, etc., etc., in Korea. Thank you in advance.
[Note: The Korean hesitated putting this up on the blog, but realized that this poor woman probably found this blog by searching for "why do Korean men beat their wives" or "Korean Philippines marriage" type things. This post will probably pull this blog up closer to the top of the search list if any other person who needs help searches for those terms in the future.]
Got a question or comment for the Korean? Email away at firstname.lastname@example.org.
-EDIT- Can anyone who speaks Tagalog quickly help out the Korean? Promise this will be quick and easy -- just need to read two emails.