Violence against women in Vietnam

Vietnam has progressed a lot for the last few decades, both economically and socially. Nonetheless, there are still major issues that we have to face and violence against women is one of them. A recently published study shed light on this particular issue and some of the findings are both horrifying and embarrassing to me. I want to share them here because I believe in the transparency and in the fact that we can’t advance as a nation without looking squarely at our problems.

What is this study about? How was it organized?

The 2019 study consists of three parts: the quantitative study; the qualitative study; and economic costing of violence against women.

The quantitative component of the study (the “survey”) was conducted by the General Statistics Office at the request of the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA). This included reviewing and testing questionnaires, interviewer training, fieldwork and data processing. The quantitative study is a household survey covering all six regions of Viet Nam and is nationally representative. A multistage sample design was used to select a sample of 6,000 households. A total of 5,976 women aged between 15 and 64 completed a face-to-face interview with a trained female interviewer.The qualitative component of the study was conducted by the Centre for Creative Initiatives in Health and Population (CCIHP).

The qualitative study aimed to: provide a context for violence against women by intimate partners; triangulate the quantitative results; gain insights and explanations for quantitative data that are unexplained; and explore related issues that by their nature could not be studied through a quantitative survey. Data was gathered through in-depth interviews, key informant interviews and focus-group discussions. A total of 269 participants, including women with disabilities and from ethnic minorities, as well as 11 key informants, provided information and shared their experiences for the qualitative research.

Lastly, the study component on economic costing of violence against women was carried out by UNFPA Viet Nam in cooperation with several local and international consultants.UNFPA Viet Nam managed the overall process with technical assistance from the kNOwVAWdata Initiative (a partnership between the UNFPA Asia and the Pacific Regional Office and the Australian Government). The entire study was technically and financially supported by the Government of Australia through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and UNFPA.

Source: United Nations Population Fund

At least 6 out of 10 women in Vietnam experienced violence at least once in their life time. More than 3 out of 10 experienced violence in the last 12 months

Figure 1 – Source: United Nations Population Fund

More than 1 out of 4 women in Vietnam agreed with this statement: “A good wife obeys her husband even if she disagrees”

Figure 2 – Source: United Nations Population Fund

More than half of the women in Vietnam think that there are good reasons for their husbands/partners to hit them

Figure 3 – Source: United Nations Population Fund

Half of the women who experienced violence didn’t tell anyone about it

Figure 4 – Source: United Nations Population Fund

More than 30% of working women experienced violence in their lifetime, a disturbing figure that signals even employment and some economic independence cannot save women

Figure 5 – Source: United Nations Population Fund

Compared to 2010, drunkenness became a more common trigger of physical violence against women in Vietnam

Figure 6 – Source: United Nations Population Fund

As a Vietnamese guy, I am really ashamed and embarrassed when I read this report. We still have so much to go as a nation. I don’t really care what the percentages are for other countries. This is not a competition. We have to be better than this. At least, I would love to see a few things:

  • There needs to be education to women on their rights. They don’t have to think that there are good reasons to be hit or that they have to obey to be called “a good wife”
  • We also must educate the men that it’s uncivil, reprehensible and awful to exert violence on women
  • As a society, we need to have a shaming culture on violence against women and call out terrible cases
  • There must be more organizations or groups that can protect women’s rights

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