Students raise voices on sexual violence against women and girls

Wednesday, 2016-11-23 18:36:31
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Victims’ stories of sexual violence attract attention from students.
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NDO—Stories and opinions from students on sexual violence against women and girls were shared at a discussion at Hanoi University on November 23 on the implementation the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in Vietnam.

The event was jointly hosted by UN Women in Vietnam, the Centre for Studies and Applied Sciences in Gender, Families, Women and Adolescents (CSAGA) and Hanoi University with the theme “Ending Violence, Cultivating Love,” aimed at educating youngsters on the prevalence of the convention.

The CEDAW was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1979. In July 1980, Vietnam became one of the first countries in the world to ratify the convention. After nearly 40 years, the country has achieved significant results in its implementation of CEDAW, but CEDAW is also quite new to many social groups, including young people—the pioneers in mobilising social change.

Moreover, statistics show that women and girls continue to be victims of sexual attacks. Sexual violence and its consequences have a serious impact on the lives of women, even leaving them with psychological disorders such as depression, substance abuse or suicidal thoughts.

UN Women Country Representative in VietnamShoko Ishikawa speaks at the seminar.

Speaking at the seminar, Shoko Ishikawa, UN Women Country Representative in Vietnam, said that the first objective in ending violence against women was to stop it before it started. She called on all participants to act with the goal of ending sexual violence and creating a caring society that respects all women, men, girls and boys.

Vice Rector of Hanoi University Nguyen Thi Cuc Phuong also called on the youth to pay attention to the topic. She expressed her belief that young people would make a change, as awareness would contribute to creating a better life for all.

Over 100 students at the event frankly shared their opinions on the issue with gender experts about how to identify sexual harassment, how to help high school students prevent harassment and how to prevent dating violence.

Students share their opinions on how to identify sexual harassment at the event.

CSAGA Director Nguyen Van Anh shared that equipping young people with life skills was a long process, adding that receiving education on a foundation of equality and mutual respect would help them to prevent sexual violence in an active and flexible manner.

The seminar also saw the launch of the Communication Initiatives Competition on Preventing Forms of Sexual Violence against Women and Girls for Vietnamese citizens aged 18-30 with effective communication initiatives in conveying messages on preventing sexual violence against women and girls. Each selected initiative would be supported with VND10-15 million to implement its plans.

In response to the sixteen days of action to eliminate violence against women and girls, CSAGA, in collaboration with UN Women partners, UNODC, the Embassy of Canada, Hanoi Women’s Club and five universities, jointly organised the seminar with students on the specific topic of sexual violence against women and girls. The event Wednesday at Hanoi University was the first seminar in the series.