Men and boys are important partners in prevention of violence against women and girls

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Da Nang, 23 May 2018 – Today, more than 80 participants from governmental agencies, local and international organizations, and research institutes gathered in Da Nang to attend the workshop on "Engaging men and boys in prevention of violence against women and girls in Viet Nam" jointly held by UN Women, Ministry of Labour - Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA), and Partners for Prevention (P4P).

Gender-based violence (GBV), especially violence against women and girls is a global scourge. Viet Nam is no different from other nations, with GBV, a serious and pervasive problem within society. It is one of the most important obstacles in ending gender inequality and achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In Viet Nam, the National Survey on Domestic Violence against Women, supported by the UN in 2010, showed that 58% of ever-married women experienced at least one form of physical, mental or sexual violence during their lifetime. 87% victims of domestic violence never sought help from any formal services or authorities and only looked for support when the situation became serious. According to MOLISA, each year Viet Nam records approximately 1,000 sexual abuse cases against girls.

Viet Nam's efforts in addressing gender inequality and GBV are reflected in its legislative framework, which was strengthened with the adoptation of two laws including the 2006 Law on Gender Equality and 2007 Law on the Prevention and Control of Domestic Violence. The country has also approved a National Action Programme on Gender Equality for 2016-2020 period, Agenda 2030 toghether with many other policies and programmes and recognized 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 Viet Nam. However, the enforcement of these policies remains challenging. While there has been a positive attempt to implement various models and interventions including policy advocacy and communication campaigns on prevention and response to GBV as well as engaging men and boys in these programmes, these works still need to be improved.

The workshop today gave a great opportunity for both national and local authorities to raise awareness and share lesson learnt and experiences in implementing different models in engaging men and boys in violence prevention against women and girls.

Opening the workshop, Ms. Hoang Thi Thu Huyen, Deputy Director General of Gender Equality Department, MOLISA highlighted that one of the focused points in achieveing gender equality in Viet Nam is to strengthen policy legistrations and coordination between agencies in preventing and responsing to GBV. The models/interventions in the engagement of men in prevention of violence against women and girls need to be implemented strongly in all levels. This would help to raise awareness, provide skills and efforts needed for participants and accelerate Viet Nam's progress in promoting gender equality and empowering women.

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At the workshop, Ms. Elisa Fernandez, Head of UN Women Head of Office in Viet Nam said: "Achieving gender equality is about transforming unequal power relations between men and women. This involves challeing notions of masculinity and traditional perceptions of manhood. It requires men to question power dynamics in their actions or their words at the personal, interpersional and societal level, and to take responsibility for change. I strongly believe that even the men who are perpetrators can change their attitude and behaviors towards respecting women and girls if we create space and support for them to change."

Note for editors:

About Partners for Prevention (P4P) is a UNDP, UNFPA, UN Women and UNV regional joint programme for the prevention of violence against women and girls in Asia and the Pacific. From 2008, P4P has provided seminal data on men's perpetration of different forms of violence against women, enhance institutional capacity at the local and regional levels for sustainable programme and policy development VAWG and supported the design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of localized VAWG prevention interventions in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Viet Nam.

A UN multi country study on men and violence in Asia and the Pacific in 2013 of P4P found that male rape of women was pervasive across the region, ranging from 10 percent (Bangladesh-urban) to 62 percent (Papua New Guinea-Bougainville) of all men interviewed reported perpetrating some form of rape against a woman or girl in their lifetime. Rape perpetration started early in life with half (49 percent) of the men who reported having raped a woman did so for the first time when they were teenagers. The study also gave a positive side that not all men used violence. Some men expressed frustration with the dominant notions of what it means to be a man; others embodied and practised alternative forms of masculinities that promote equitable power- sharing arrangements between men and women.

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