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Nearly two thirds of Vietnamese women experience violence

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HCMC – Nearly two in three women in Vietnam have experienced physical, sexual, psychological and/or economic violence by their husbands or partners at some point in their lives, according to the National Study on Violence against Women 2019, which was launched today, July 14.

The study was conducted by the Vietnam General Statistics Office, with technical and financial support from the Australian Government and the United Nations Population Fund. This is Vietnam’s second national study on violence against women, after the first one in 2010.

Domestic and other forms of violence have affected many women in Vietnam with grave consequences for them and their families. The prevalence of all types of violence, except sexual violence, was lower in 2019 than in 2010, which may indicate that policies and programs are having an effect.

However, sexual violence was higher in 2019 than in 2010, showcasing that the rate of change has been slow and that more concerted efforts are needed to eliminate violence against women in the country.

According to the study, women with disabilities experience more violence than those without.

Perceptions that a good wife should obey her husband even if she disagrees are still held by more than a quarter of women, similar to the case in 2010, but attitudes are improving among younger women compared to older women.

Women who experience violence by their husbands or partners have poorer general health and a higher probability of mental illness and are also more likely to experience miscarriages, stillbirths and abortions.

Exactly as in the first study, half of the women who had experienced physical and/or sexual violence told no one about it and most of them did not seek any help. Only 9.6% of them sought help from formal services or authorities and just 4.8% from the police.

The economic costs of violence are substantial among women who experienced violence in the past 12 months, spending some quarter of their annual income on costs associated with healthcare or replacing damaged goods. It is estimated that national productivity losses due to violence against women are equivalent to 1.81% of Vietnam’s 2018 gross domestic product.

Despite some improvement, violence against women still remains widespread, with serious impacts on the health and wellbeing of women and children. To address violence against women effectively, the study suggests the need for a structured, multisectoral approach involving all relevant agencies and organizations.

Some measures that should be taken in a timely manner include promoting violence prevention; strengthening national commitment and action; developing and deploying appropriate, effective and high-quality response and intervention solutions and supporting research, data collection and collaboration to address violence against women.

By Minh Tuan

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