More than 90% of Chinese women married to gay men suffer domestic abuse but only 30% leave their husbands, a new survey has found.
‘Tongqi,’ or ‘homowives,’ are a widespread phenomenon in China. Leading sexologist Lin Yinhe estimates that there are 20 million gay men in the country, 80% of whom marry women.
Researchers at Harbin University of Technology, with support from the ministry of education, interviewed 173 such women over three years. Three quarters of whom were under the age of 35.
More than 90% of respondents said they had suffered some form of domestic abuse, psychological or physical.
Some 37.6% had been given the ‘the silent treatment’ or ‘the cold shoulder’ by their spouses, while 38.7% had suffered physical violence and 15% life-threatening violence.
Some 93% regarded their marriage a tragedy and said their lives had lost all meaning.
But only 31% had chosen to divorce. Experts believe most of these women try to keep their marriages together out of concern for their economic situation and children.
In terms of sexual activity, 40.5% of respondents said they have sex less than five times every six months, while 34.1% have ‘almost no sex’ or ‘no sex at all.’
Some 15% said their husbands were living with HIV and 26.6% get tested for the virus regularly. Around 12% of the women have been infected by their husbands.