|An education workshop to raise awareness on sexual violence prevention was held for 3,000 students of the Police Academy Military Zone 7 in HCM City as part of the campaign. — Photo Courtesy of the United Nations Population Fund
HA NOI (VNS) — The closing workshop of the "Elimination of Sexual Violence against Women and Girls" campaign, which aims to raise public awareness about sexual violence, was organised today in Ha Noi.
The campaign calls on the public, particularly men and boys, to take action against sexual violence, including sexual harassment.
The campaign was organised by the four ministries of culture, sports and tourism; labour, invalids and social affairs; health; and public security, besides the Viet Nam General Confederation of Labour, the Farmers' Union and the Women's Union in collaboration with the United Nations in Viet Nam.
Under the campaign, a series of activities was held from November 9 to December 1, which included policy dialogues, workshops, concerts and competitions, besides street dance and social media activities in 11 cities and provinces nation-wide.
Ritsu Nacken, United Nations Population Fund deputy representative in Viet Nam, said, "Today, we close 16 days of activism, but we open the door to new opportunities for stronger co-operation in addressing violence against women and girls. In a way, this closing workshop is not about ending, but a new beginning."
"Each of us must keep the ‘fire' and commitment to this issue in ourselves, and continue to be a strong advocate for the rights of women and girls," she said.
We must do so because stopping violence against women and girls was not just beneficial for them, but helped the entire family, communities and countries, and contributed to a more peaceful and inclusive society, which was a necessary foundation for a prosperous country, she said.
Addressing the closing event, Huynh Vinh Ai, deputy minister of culture, sports and tourism, the leading agency that addresses violence against women and girls in Viet Nam, said, "Preventing and ending sexual violence against women and girls, either in the society or within the family, is a great concern of all countries."
Sexual violence was a violation of human rights and dignity, and a violation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) that Viet Nam has signed, he said.
The National Study on Domestic Violence against Women, released by the General Statistics Office and the United Nations in Viet Nam in 2010, showed that 58 per cent of ever-married women had experienced at least one form of violence, including physical, mental or sexual, at some point in their lives. Approximately 50 per cent of the victims did not tell anyone about the violence they endured, and 87 per cent did not seek help from public services.
Violence against women and girls not only has serious impact on the physical and spiritual well-being of victims, but also has enormous socio-economic costs. A recent UN study showed that the cost of gender-based violence against women in Viet Nam, in out-of-pocket expenditures and lost earnings, represented nearly 1.5 per cent of the national GDP in 2012. — VNS