59 percent of women in Vietnam mentally abused by partners: study

By VnExpress   November 9, 2016 | 02:00 am GMT+7

Six percent of the women surveyed said they had considered committing suicide.

Abuse among couples in Vietnam has become a pressing issue, with many women suffering serious mental and physical abuse from their partners, a new study has found.

The survey of 569 women aged between 18 and 30 years old in 2014 and 2015 found 59 percent of women had been mentally abused.

Some abuse even occurred online with 23 percent of women experiencing violence via information and communications technology such as Facebook posts, and 24 percent were stalked after they broke up with their partners.

At least 11 percent were also sexually abused by their partners

The women said they suffered both physical and mental damage, and felt wounded, stressed and fearful, with low self esteem.

The issue was extremely serious for at least 34 women, who considered suicide.

Young Women Making Change, a group of young Vietnamese activists for gender equality, conducted the survey with support from UN Women.

The results were released at a conference in Hanoi on Monday, providing the first data on a pressing issue that has not received any research at state level. Studies about gender equality in Vietnam so far have focused more on domestic violence.

The group defines abuse between unmarried couples “dating violence,” and although their study focused on violence against women, they acknowledged that both sexes can be victims.

Although abuse is covered by Vietnam’s civil and criminal laws, most of the women did not recognize their right to be free from their violent partners, and some had no idea where to go for help.

They said the research should force the Vietnamese government to pay more attention to the “burning issue.”

According to official statistics, 58 percent of married women in Vietnam have suffered physical or sexual abuse at least once in their life, usually from a male partner or a male member of the family.

Nguyen Thuy Hien, deputy director of the Hanoi-based Women and Development Center, said at the conference that the violence will only end when men and boys join the movement.

Nguyen Bao Thanh Nghi, a sociology professor at Ho Chi Minh City Open University, said in an interview with Thanh Nien newspaper that women’s rights movements in Vietnam have been around for years but “they often die prematurely and fail to create systematic and widespread changes” as they cannot get men to participate.

The global initiative HeForShe, which was launched early in 2015 to seek men’s support for gender equality, has received more than 1.3 billion supporters around the world so far, but only around 2,000 of them are from Vietnam, including more than 1,600 men.

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