Living and working in a northern city of Vietnam, Mrs. Nhung and Mr. Thanh have two sons. The family experienced a normal life until the Covid-19 epidemic broke out. Thanh, a freelance worker, lost his job during the lockdown while Nhung, an accountant for a private business, worked from home during the time of social distancing.

With no income, and his wife often at home, Thanh’s brutality toward his wife got worse.

Once, he smashed up his wife’s laptop and smartphone and tried to stab her with a knife. Nhung and her two children rushed out of the house, found a temporary shelter and reported the incident to the police. Thanh called his wife threatening that he would find and kill her.

Domestic violence doubles during pandemic

domestic violence,covid-19 impacts

Calling for help via messaging apps is believed to be a safe way for victims of domestic violence.

Nhung was among 1,268 victims of domestic violence who sought assistance from the Center for Research and Scientific Application on Gender - Family - Women and Adolescents (CSAGA) in the first half of 2021. Up to 56.1% of the victims needed immediate assistance during the night.

Since early 2020 to the end of July 2021, CSAGA helped 3,487 victims of domestic violence via phone calls and chats, and most of the victims were women, evenly distributed among rural and urban areas.

Besides CSAGA, a number of other organizations providing support for women in Vietnam have reported an increase of domestic violence during the pandemic.

Ngoi Nha Binh Yen (peaceful house) - a safe place for the victims of violence managed by the Vietnam Women's Union - recorded a double increase in the number of women going to this shelter in the first half of 2021 compared to the same period in 2018 and 2019.

The manager of the Facebook page called “Join hands to prevent domestic violence" said that the number of people asking for help from this site in the first four months of 2020 was equal to the total number of the whole 2019.

According to CSAGA, during times of social distancing, violence against women and girls not only increased in the number of cases but also changed in some aspects.

 

Not only Vietnamese women but also foreign women living and working in Vietnam became victims of gender-based violence. Calls and text messages from different parts of the country, with different nationalities and languages, created challenges for this organization's victim support offices.

Calling for help via messaging apps is believed to be a safe way for victims of domestic violence.

Nguyen Van Anh, Director of CSAGA, told VietNamNet that in the context of social distancing, victims of domestic violence are in contact with the perpetrators of domestic violence nearly all the time. As a result, it is difficult for them to seek help from relatives, authorities or women's support organizations.

domestic violence,covid-19 impacts

Dr. Khuat Thu Hong, Director of the Institute for Social Development Research.

To partially remove this obstacle, CSAGA and Facebook have launched an online support tool for victims of gender-based violence via the Messenger Bot messaging platform on the “Yeu thuong va Tu do” (love and freedom) fanpage. This is a completely free application, receiving information in the form of messages, which is capable of reaching many victims at the same time.

For the safety of the victim, this app allows the victim to delete all messages and chat history with just one touch of the screen.

If this app is a tech solution for the domestic violence problem, according to Dr. Khuat Thu Hong, Director of the Institute for Social Development Research, the more permanent solution should be to improve awareness of society, of each citizen, with education of children an urgent task.

“We must educate children from a young age that violence is not the way to resolve conflicts. It is necessary to equip children with skills and knowledge to resolve conflicts by peaceful methods. If they see their parents fighting and arguing every day, they will see it as normal. And when they grow up, these children will assume that they have the right to teach their wives that way,” Dr. Hong said.

Another important solution that Dr. Hong proposed is to raise community awareness of domestic violence. She said that it is necessary to tell people that Vietnamese society does not accept violence.

She emphasized that domestic violence not only affects the physical and mental health of women and children, and the family's economy, but also affects the country’s socio-economic development. There is a need to prevent violence in families, schools, public places and workplaces by changing gender stereotypes. Men and boys in particular should become the main agents of change in perceptions of gender equality.

Nguyen Thao

Many women suffer from 'emotional abuse' at home

Many women suffer from 'emotional abuse' at home

Like many other nights, Quang cursed his wife and children when Hue, his wife, asked for money to buy food.