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Jul 15, 2020 / 15:34

Two thirds of Vietnamese married women suffer domestic violence: Study

Violence against women in Vietnam remains very much hidden and more actions must be taken to change the situation.

As many as 63% of Vietnamese married women have experienced one or more forms of physical, sexual, emotional and economic violence and controlling behaviors by their husbands in their lifetime, according to a newly-released study.

 As many as 63% of Vietnamese married women suffer at least one kind of violence in their lifetime

It means that nearly two in three married women in Vietnam have suffered at least one kind of domestic violence, according to a study that is backed technically and financially by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

This is the second study conducted in Vietnam, making it the only country in the world so far making a study that specifically uses cross-culturally validated methodology developed by the World Health Organization.

Managed by Vietnam’s Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) in collaboration with the General Statistics Office (GSO), this study enables a better understanding of what has changed since the first study in 2010, as well as what has not, and what needs to be in place for strengthening gender equality and ending gender-based violence in Vietnam.

The 2019 study has three parts: a quantitative survey, conducted by GSO; a qualitative study by the Center for Creative Initiatives in Health and Population (CCIHP); and an economic costing of violence by international experts commissioned by UNFPA.

Nearly 6,000 women aged 15 to 64 were interviewed, with the results showing that most of the violence against women in Vietnam is perpetrated by their husbands or partners.

The study also shows that with the exception of sexual violence, the prevalence of different types of violence against women, perpetrated by husbands, was slightly lower in 2019 than in 2010, and positive change may be happening among younger women.

In addition, the report estimated that violence against women cost Vietnam an estimated 1.8% of its gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018.

Key findings from the 2019 study

• In Vietnam, women were more likely to be abused by their husbands than by any other perpetrators.

• Nearly one in ten or 9% women experienced non-partner sexual violence since age 15. Almost all of this was perpetrated by males who were not family members (e.g. a male stranger, friend or acquaintance; a recent acquaintance; or someone at work).

• Violence against women remains very much hidden. Half of women who experienced violence by husbands had never told anyone. Almost all women (90.4%) who experienced physical and/or sexual violence from husbands did not seek any help from formal service providers.

• Children are also victims when living in violent environments. Of the women who experienced physical violence by a husband, 61.4% disclosed that their children witnessed or otherwise overheard the violence. Women who experienced physical and/or sexual violence by their husbands were more likely to say their children (5-12 years) had behavioral problems.

• Violence against women has a wide range of health impacts or consequences. One in four women (23.3%) who were physically and/or sexually abused by their husbands had physical injuries. Pregnant women are also at risk of violence from their husbands.

• Violence is a learned behavior. Women victims of violence are more likely to have a husband whose mother was beaten or who was himself beaten as a child.

Remarks on the national study

 Nguyen Thi Ha, Deputy Minister of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) at the event on July 14. Photo: Nhandan 

MOLISA’s Deputy Minister Nguyen Thi Ha said after nearly ten years since the first survey, the results show both positive changes and shortcomings.

The percentage of women suffering from these forms of violence has decreased slightly and positive change is clearly seen among young women who did not endure and showed their strength in fighting against violence, and women who have higher education are less likely to experience violence.

 Naomi Kitahara, UNFPA Representative in Vietnam, at the event. Photo: UNFPA

“Ending violence against women and girls is one of the three transformative results that UNFPA has pledged to achieve worldwide,” said Naomi Kitahara, UNFPA Representative in Vietnam.

“In Vietnam, UNFPA has worked alongside the Government and stakeholders for more than a decade towards ending violence against women. Today, we have even more evidence to spur us to even greater action, and I call on everyone to join forces to eliminate this violence. Without addressing this, Vietnam quite simply cannot achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals, and ensure no one is left behind,” she added.

 Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Robyn Mudie. Photo: Embassy of Australia in Hanoi

Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Robyn Mudie said “Australia is deeply committed to ending gender-based violence.” “We have supported this study because it leads us all to acknowledge just how many lives are affected by violence, coercive control and harassment. Each piece of data in this report represents the experience of a Vietnamese woman or girl, whether in their home, at work or in a public place. This report means that we hear them, we believe them, and we need to act.”

At the launch of the results, the government of Vietnam, government of Australia, and UNFPA all called for ever more urgent action to end violence against women.

“No matter where violence happens, in what forms, or who it affects, it must be stopped,” concluded UNFPA Representative Naomi Kitahara. “Together, we should work to create a world where both women and men, and girls and boys, can enjoy a life free from violence. We commend Vietnam for its commitment to achieving this vision.”