CONTENT NOTE: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE; FORCED SEPARATION OF MOTHER AND CHILD
Nan-Hui Jo, a South Korean woman, came to the US to study. She met her former partner, Jesse Charlton, and had a child with him, a little girl named Vitz Da. And in 2009, after suffering repeated violence and abuse, in an effort to save herself and her daughter, Jo took her child and went back to South Korea. Charlton sent her threats, including one of employing a “nasty bounty hunter,” and publicly admitted his violent abuse of his former partner, including that he grabbed her around the throat and threw her against a wall.
Upon her return to the US in 2014 (nothing I’ve found has said why), Jo was immediately arrested and separated from her daughter. She was tried for child abduction and the trial resulted in a hung jury. The DA has opted for a retrial, ignoring the violence and abuse to which Charlton subjected Jo. And even if she is found not guilty, she will be subject to immediate deportation and thus continued separation from the daughter she tried to protect.
This case is at the crossroads of so many of the important challenges facing feminism today: the racism and xenophobia towards a foreign woman of color, who is being accused of trying to use Charlton for a green card (never mind that she fled back to South Korea); the lack of options facing women, particularly those who are not US citizens, in escaping abuse; the incredibly high rates of abuse incarcerated women have experienced; the persecution of women who attempt action to save themselves and their children from abuse; the refusal of our legal system to recognize that a man who abuses the mother of his children is no fit parent. It seems to me that, as with the case of Marissa Alexander, we as feminists need to support Nan-Hui Jo and make crystal clear the traps she has been caught in.
More details can be found here, at the Korean American Coalition to End Domestic Abuse’s site.
A Facebook page in support of Nan-Hui Jo can be found here.
Here is a Tumblr feed giving a play-by-play of what is happening in the courtroom.
Various actions and petitions can be found at these sites.