Symbolic Pride and Physical Suffering: An Explanation of Gender-Based Violence in Vietnam

Hoang Tu Anh, Center for Creative Initiatives in Health and Population

Studies in Vietnam show about 30-50% of ever married women suffered from violence by their husband. Justification for violence is high. Few women seek for support in the cases of violence. Shame and gender suppression have been seen as main causes of the situation. This paper argues that it is the gender biased pride making the women to keep silent and stay in the abusive relationship. This gender biased pride is prevailing in the blended gender ideology society of Vietnam. It is reinforced by the government and organizations promoting gender equity and women’s rights. The paper suggests that interventions and policies on gender based violence should unpack this pride by addressing the ambiguity of femininity and masculinity stereotypes. The paper is based on more than 208 in-depth interviews and 21 focus group discussions with women, men, local authorities and health providers in a coastal town in north central Vietnam.

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Presented in Session 236: Individual and Community-Level Causes and Consequences of Gender-Based Violence