Fresno murder-suicide raises awareness about domestic violence

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A special vigil is planned next week to honor the life of a Valley woman who was shot and killed by her ex-husband this week.

Zyang Vang was shot to death by her estranged husband Neng Moua on Tuesday. The 33-year-old mother of seven was killed in the pediatric office where she worked in Downtown Fresno.

Organizers say the vigil will be held at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday at Sang Pediatrics where Vang was murdered. On Friday, Action News spoke with a Fresno State professor who says her murder highlights how domestic violence is a problem which transcends all economic and cultural backgrounds.

Vang was a young dedicated mother and a much loved colleague at Sang Pediatrics. Vang, who was of Hmong descent, was killed by her ex-husband.

Gena Lew Gong teaches Asian American studies at Fresno State. She says Vang's murder gives the community an opportunity to confront domestic violence head on.

"We do not condone violence in any form. Domestic violence is really a problem that's reflective of patriarchal societies, and in the Hmong culture it is also a very patriarchal society," said Gong.

Gong is also part of the Valley's Asian Pacific Women's Group which aims to empower future leaders. The nonprofit works closely with local police and the Marjaree Mason Center to help victims of abuse, especially newer immigrants who are navigating a new life in this country.

"It is difficult to negotiate how to work in American society, to adjust to westernized values and culture, and if you are coming from a patriarchal society that makes it even more difficult for women in particular to speak up and to stand up to what the beliefs, the traditions and the cultures have been telling the women how they should behave," said Gong.

Domestic violence experts say abuse escalates and often most women who remain in dangerous relationships stay because they think they have no choice. "They can stay because of children, they can stay because their finances are being restricted. They stay out of fear or they stay out of love. They think they are in love and don't know love isn't supposed to hurt," said Rae Pardini with the Marjaree Mason Center.

The Marjaree Mason Center also has Hmong advocates on their staff who are available to help anyone in the community who is afraid to speak up.

The Marjaree Mason Center issued the following statement in response to the incident that occurred in Downtown Fresno on March 31:

The Marjaree Mason Center was established in the name of Marjaree Mason, whose life was tragically taken in a similar murder suicide incident. This is why we are here, and it's another reminder that domestic violence is absolutely a local issue to Fresno County. This severe abuse doesn't happen overnight; it can start with verbal abuse, escalate to physical abuse and unfortunately, as in this case, may result in death. If you or someone you know is exposed to domestic violence, please call the Marjaree Mason Center 24-hour confidential hotline at 559-233-HELP (4357).

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