Multiple cultural and sport events will be taking place nationwide from November 25 - December 10 to urge actions to end sexual violence against women and girls in Vietnam.
The events, which include policy dialogues and workshops, art competitions, a photo exhibition, university talk-shows, public-friendly sport games and dancing with youth, are held on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
All these activities will be part of the United Nations annual 16 days of activism to end gender-based violence together with the Secretary-General’s campaign UNiTE by 2030 to end violence against women, which mobilises governments, civil society and the public worldwide to end this pandemic.
The global theme of this year’s UN commemoration, which uses the orange colour to symbolise hope and a brighter future without violence against women, is: “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands against Rape!” The theme highlights the need to stand up together, speak out and take action against the “culture of impunity” to sexual violence and all forms of violence against women and girls.
Violence and abuse against women are among the world’s most pervasive human rights violations, affecting one in every three women in the world. It is rooted in a complex set of patriarchal beliefs, power and control that continue to create a social environment in which sexual violence, and even rape, is often normalized and remain mostly unpunished.
Here in Vietnam, the National Study on Domestic Violence against Women, released by the General Statistics Office, under the coordination of UNFPA in Vietnam in 2010, showed that 58 per cent of ever-married women had experienced at least one of three forms of violence (physical, mental or sexual) at some point in their lives. Approximately 50 per cent of victims did not tell anyone about the violence they endured, and 87 per cent did not seek help from public services.
The UN Trial of Rape Research in 2017 supported by UN Women, UNDP and UNODC found that women reporting cases of rape in Thailand and Vietnam encounter significant societal, legal and institutional policies and practices that act as barriers to justice.
“Violence against women and girls happens around us. It is in our communities and neighborhoods, in the buses and the trains, schools and workplaces. It is online and in social media, as well as exploitation and bullying, and it needs to stop”, said Head of Office for UN Women Vietnam, Elisa Fernandez Saenz.
In recent years, the voices of survivors and activists have been put in the spotlight on the issue of sexual violence through campaigns such as #MeToo, #TimesUp, #NotOneMore, #BalanceTonPorc, and others, reaching a crescendo that cannot be silenced or ignored anymore.
On the occasion of the International Day, UN Resident Coordinator in Vietnam, Kamal Malhotra said that ending violence against women should be a priority for every man and woman, government and company.
"Together, we can work towards a world where both men and women, and boys and girls, can live with dignity," he stressed. "We will also support and encourage Vietnam to increase its efforts to break the culture of silence and impunity so that sexual violence and harassment is not tolerated anytime, anywhere in Vietnam."
“Violence against women is not inevitable. We all have a role to play creating a culture of zero tolerance to sexual violence. Together, we can make Vietnam safer and more equitable for women and girls. Let's join hands to end violence against women and girls in Vietnam for a future free of sexual and gender-based violence”, reflected on Naomi Kitahara, Representative of UNFPA.
In October 2015, the Vietnam Prime Minister approved a National Action Programme on Gender Equality for 2016-2020, which put the period from 15 November to 15 December as the Annual Action Month on Promoting Gender Equality and Preventing Violence against Women and Girls in Vietnam. The 2019 National Action Month was launched on 9 November in Quang Ngai province to raise awareness of public on violence and calls on the public, particularly men and boys, to take action against violence, against women and girls. In this connection, series of communication activities will be conducted through-out the country by the UN agencies and other partners.