Niwako Yamawaki was born and raised in Japan, and educated in the US. She graduated from the University of Utah with her doctoral degree in counseling psychology. Niwako is currently working as an associate professor at the Department of Psychology at Brigham Young University, where she teaches in the areas of multicultural counseling, applied social psychology, and psychology of gender. Niwako is a recipient of the Abe Fellowship (Social Science Research Council), the JSPS Post Doc Fellowship, the JSPS Invitation Fellowship (Long term), and the BRIDGE Fellowship.
Domestic violence is one of the most serious, yet largely ignored global concerns, and its consequences are intertwined with such contemporary issues as child abuse and mental illness. Although the purposes of the Violence Against Women Act (America) and the law for the Prevention of Spousal Violence and Protection of Victims (Japan) are to protect human rights and improve gender equality, they define domestic violence differently. This study will examine Japanese and American attitudes towards domestic violence. The findings will foster an understanding of whether there is a gap between research findings and existing policies in terms of defining domestic violence, and whether this gap is due to misunderstanding or distorted attitudes towards domestic violence. This study will also explore the predictor variables for a distorted attitude towards domestic violence and for help-seeking behavior. Through disclosing these predictors, this research will assist the formulation of more effective policies.