A friend sent me the following link here about South Korean men who are using marriage brokers to help themselves find brides from Vietnam. While arranged marriages are not unusual in a lot of societies–Vietnam included–the business aspect of these marriages have seemed to dilute the meaning of marriage, at least if we are to look at marriage from a western perspective.
The arrangement is quite simple. A man from South Korea who is seeking a bride hires himself a marriage broker. The marriage broker arranges to fly the man to China or Vietnam in order to introduce him to a group of women who are looking not only to marry someone but who are also looking to marry a man able to help their families financially. After spending a few fleeting minutes with each woman, the bride and groom are swept away to be married quickly once the man has made his choice. The transaction seems to go smoothly because the man has himself a bride, while the woman’s family receives a monetary assistance from the groom.
However there is an alarming matter of concern regarding these arranged marriages: the possibility of domestic violence that results once a newly married woman has moved to South Korea. The hurried nature of the marriages doesn’t offer any of these women a real opportunity to really get to know her new life partner. Some marriages often ending in terrible violence as men physically abuse their new brides because the brides are unaware of any history of violence or mental problems with their new husbands. This article here provides several accounts of violence towards several Vietnamese women who married South Korean men.
The South Korean government can do more to help quell this issue of violence by setting up programs or agencies that can assist newcomers adjust to their new country, or by requiring and enforcing stricter screening requirements on men who are choosing to marry women from other countries. I can only imagine how difficult the transition must be; after all, one is talking about living in a new country, leaving one’s friends and family, feeling isolated, learning a new language and culture, and committing one’s life to a perfect stranger.