This coming Sunday is the international day for the Eradication of Violence Against Women.
And already the Chinese media are gearing up to trumpet the country's efforts in dealing with this issue.
However the numbers are frightening. According to statistics from the All-China Women's Federation, some 35 per cent of China's 270 million families have reported domestic violence. And what is interesting to note is that urban areas are reporting as many cases as the countryside. There are incidents involving all income and education levels, and mostly result in beatings, burned by cigarettes, disfigured by acid and sexual assault.
The government is changing the marriage law and the law on the rights of women to include domestic violence; and the police are more accountable for helping those in distress. However, what really needs to be done is putting laws in place that make it easier for perpetrators to be convicted and for victims to get the social services they need.
Right now the government allows NGOs to set up women's shelters across the country. But more hotlines need to be set up and make women aware of these services so that they know where to go.
The biggest obstacle is the cultural problem of not wanting to make family strife public, which is why many women still endure the abuse. But they need to know that their mental and physical scars aren't worth saving face.