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Non-Profit Helps Abused Women From Local Vietnamese Population

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Immigrant women who are abused by their husbands often have no where to turn for help. But there are efforts to combat the problem in Northern Virginia's 50,000-strong Vietnamese community.

The latest hit from Asian pop star Doan Phi blasts from the speakers at the Eden Center in Northern Virginia, a shopping complex with dozens of Vietnamese restaurants and stores.

On this sunny Sunday afternoon, its shops and restaurants are thriving. But like many communities, this one has its problems and domestic violence is one of them.

Lisa Lynn Chapman runs a program for Vietnamese victims of domestic violence with Boat People S.O.S, a non-profit located just a few miles from the Eden Center. "Some of the abusers are former torture survivors themselves," she says. "Their level of what is cruel is a lot higher than what ours might be."

Last week, Boat People S.O.S received $500,000 in federal economic stimulus funds.That money will go towards providing housing for local victims of domestic abuse.

Chapman says it's difficult for many of her clients to escape their abusive husbands because of their personal histories. "They left everything once before when they got here," she says. "So now they have to start over again, but they're starting over on their own."

Chapman says up to half of all immigrant women in the U.S. are victims of domestic violence.

David Schultz reports...

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