Engaging men to prevent violence against women and girls in Viet Nam

Date: Monday, April 4, 2016

Tran Van Chuong and Hoang Van Duc work to prevent violence against women and girls in Viet Nam. Photo: P4P
Tran Van Chuong and Hoang Van Duc work to prevent violence against women and girls in Viet Nam. Photo: P4P

Twenty-six year old Tran Van Chuong frequently awoke to the sounds of his neighbour being beaten by her husband. Their arguments would start quietly but escalate quickly as his neighbour turned to physical brutality, leaving his wife sprained and scraped. This was not an uncommon problem in their urban community in Da Nang, a major central Viet Nam port city of one million people.

In Viet Nam, violence is accepted as a disciplinary tool for men to establish their authority over the women in their lives — as long as it occurs in the privacy of the home, according to qualitative research supported by United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA and Partners for Prevention Joint Programme.

In fact, more than half of women in Viet Nam report experiencing violence at some point in their lifetime, according to the Government and the United Nations’ National Study on Domestic Violence Against Women in Viet Nam. This violence is shown to have serious physical and mental health consequences, with abused women up to three times more likely to contemplate suicide.

Mr. Chuong was concerned about his neighbour’s violence, but also conflicted. He wished he could help but feared it was inappropriate to interject himself into a private family matter. Mr. Chuong is a younger man living in a community where respecting the hierarchy of age is  a core societal norm. It is considered disrespectful for a younger man to speak out and stand up to an older man.

But Mr. Chuong found a way to help his neighbours. He is a voluntary member of the Male Advocacy Club — a part of the one-year Male Advocacy Programme being implemented by the Da Nang Women’s Union in partnership with UN Women, UN Volunteers, and the Partners for Prevention Joint Programme. The programme supports Goal 5 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for the year 2030, a key component of which is the elimination of violence against women and girls. Six months into the programme, initial reports show promise of changing gender norms and prevention of violence.

To read the full story visit UN Women's regional website for the Asia and the Pacific