Forced pregnancies, fetus sex choice tantamount to domestic violence: conference

By Thien Ngon   October 27, 2018 | 03:52 pm GMT+7
Forced pregnancies, fetus sex choice tantamount to domestic violence: conference
A bride waits for her wedding ceremony in Hanoi. Photo by AFP

The ambit of Vietnam’s domestic violence law should be expanded to include coerced pregnancies and other offences, officials say.

Officials attending a conference reviewing 10 years of implementing the Law on Domestic Violence Prevention and Control in Ho Chi Minh City said Thursday it should be amended to include additional behaviors.

The conference, organized by the HCMC Steering Committee of Domestic Affairs, noted that from 2009 to 2018, the city officially recorded almost 2,000 cases of domestic violence.

Physical abuse, mental abuse, financial abuse and sexual abuse accounted for 61, 31, 7 and 1 percent of all cases, respectively, said Vo Trong Nam, Deputy Director of the HCMC Department of Culture and Sports.

Among the causal factors identified were limited awareness of the law, societal pressure, gender inequality and toxic patriarchy.

“The consequences [of domestic violence] are severe for both families and all of society. It is a violation of human rights and one’s dignity,” Nam said.

HCMC wants the central government to amend the Vietnamese Law on Domestic Violence Prevention and Control, enacted in 2009, to include additional behaviors under domestic violence, including forced pregnancies and choice of fetuses’ sex.

It also wants the law requiring domestic violence victims to file a complaint with authorities to be changed. Intervention by the authorities should be allowed even without official complaints by the victims in order to afford them better protection, officials said.

An official from the HCMC Department of Justice said that domestic violence and other types of violence should be unified under an umbrella law on violence prevention.

“People need to change their perspective on domestic violence. This is no longer a personal issue, but a problem that all of society needs to solve,” the official said.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Health has recorded around 20,000 cases of domestic violence every year, with 97 percent of the victims being women, local media reported. The percentage of female domestic violence victims in HCMC is estimated at 86 percent.

A 2013 WHO report found Southeast Asia ranked higher after Africa, at 40.2 percent, for lifetime prevalence of intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence, or both, among all women of 15 years or older.

 
 
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