Victim of alleged beating speaks

A 40-year-old paraplegic man, from South Philadelphia, is recovering from injuries he suffered in a violent beating allegedly carried out by his own uncle.

It's not the crime of the century, but the fact that the victim is talking publicly about what happened is sadly newsworthy.

Marx Phu invited Bruce Gordon into the South Philadelphia home he had shared with his aunt and uncle. He knew he was taking a risk.

"I'm pretty sure some of my family might want to consider disowning me," said Phu.

He is Vietnamese and Chinese, but grew up in the United States. As a child, Phu says he remembers witnessing acts of domestic violence, and being told, 'keep it to yourself.'

"They see it as a family matter rather than showing it to the public," he Gordon. "They'll feel embarrassed."

An accident left Phu wheel-chair bound-- unable to use his legs.

On the evening of June 14th, he got into an argument with his 62-year-old uncle, Xay Lam and that's when he says it happened.

"He had a fit and he attacked me," said Phu. "After he punched me and I was bleeding, he continued hitting me. He basically threw me down to the ground and I couldn't get up and run."

Bleeding profusely, Phu called 911. Police arrived but by thenhis uncle had fled.

"My family wanted me to keep it on the hush-hush," said Phu, "just like every other incident I saw growing up."

Studies show Asian-Americans are not as likely as members of other ethnic groups to report incidents of domestic violence to police.

For one thing, physical discipline may be accepted in some homes. There's often a language barrier.And there's a cultural barrier to coming forward.

"The families did not want to present themselves in undignified ways," says Korean-American city councilman David Oh, "or in ways that were harmful to the family's reputation."

Lam has now been arrested and charged with simple assault and reckless endangerment. Marx Phu could have kept this story quiet. But he says silence has done nothing to help victims of domestic violence in his community.

"I actually would like to bring it to attention so that this won't happen to other families."