A recent survey finds that over 70 percent of males and 80 percent of female social workers think domestic violence is sometimes necessary to maintain order in the family.
The figures come from a survey on over 1,300 social workers at communal and ward levels, as announced by Vo Thi Hong Loan, chairwoman of a project to evaluate social workers’ awareness of the topic.
Of the total respondents, 15 percent of males and 14.5 percent of females do not consider husbands’ verbally abusive behaviors towards their wives as a type of domestic violence.
Similarly, husbands beating wives is not regarded as a type of domestic violence by 10 percent of men and 7 percent of women.
Parents beating children is also not seen as domestic violence by 15 percent of male and 9 percent of female respondents.
Especially, as much as 80.3 percent of women and 70.3 percent of men think that domestic violence is occasionally necessary for maintenance of the order of family life.
In addition, many young social workers do not consider sexual violence as domestic violence. They also saw domestic assaults as “normal”, arguing that everyone could sometimes lose their temper.
Meanwhile, “children are in the habit of aping grown-ups, so children living in families where domestic violence takes place are likely to act violent like their fathers or mothers. Some of such children may be afraid of marriage when they are mature, for fear of living amid domestic violence,” Loan said.
Practical actions needed
Recently, many domestic violence cases have been published on the mass media including a husband assaulting his wife with a hammer in Hanoi, another dousing his wife and three kids in petrol in Da Nang resulting in one death, or a father burning his son to death in Thanh Hoa province.
Loan said although the Law on Domestic Violence Prevention and Control has come into effect for four years, the awareness of the social officers at grassroots levels has not improved, as shown in the said survey.
Even many members of the research group on anti-domestic violence pay more attention on propaganda than on practical actions to drive back violence, Loan said.
“I have interviewed many women on domestic violence. A woman said her husband forced her to make love the same way as in porn movies he bought and forced her to watch. She gradually fears him as a tyrant for his sexual abuse,” Loan added.
According to the first national research on domestic violence released in late 2010, one of every two women fell victim to domestic violence, but Dr. Vu Manh Loi, from the Vietnam Social Science Institute, said the actual rate could be much higher.
While victims of domestic violence badly need help from the administration to get rid of their sufferings, many local authorities even consider husbands beating wives as a “normal” thing in society, social experts said.