Statement

Speech of Ms. Astrid Bant, UNFPA Representative in Viet Nam on the Opening of the Photo Exhibition “Across the Storm”

20 November 2017
Speech of Ms. Astrid Bant, UNFPA Representative in Viet Nam on the Opening of the Photo Exhibition “Across the Storm”
Speech of Ms. Astrid Bant, UNFPA Representative in Viet Nam on the Opening of the Photo Exhibition “Across the Storm”

 

Your Excellency Mme Nienke Trooster, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands;

Mr. Pham Ngoc Tien, Director of Department for Gender Equality, Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs;

Ms. Nguyen Van Anh, Director of CSAGA;

Representatives from Government Organizations, CSOs, International development partners, UN Colleagues and media;

Ladies and gentlemen;

A very good afternoon to you all,

On behalf of UNFPA in Viet Nam, I am delighted to be here at this special Photo Exhibition titled "Across the storm". Let's me first thank the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA), Embassy of Netherlands, KOICA and CSAGA for co-organizing this meaningful event.

We would also like to thank photographer Binh Dang for the beautiful pictures. We would also like to express our sincere appreciation to twenty Vietnamese women from Bai Da market who participated in this photo project and shared their inspiring stories that really touch our hearts.

As you know, this exhibition is among more than 70 events of the communication campaign in response to the National Action Month on Gender Equality and Prevention of Gender Based Violence, as well as to celebrate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and the 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence. The International Day and the following 16 days are commemorated every year, around the world, to mark the fundamental right of every child and every woman to live a life free of violence.

I very much value and greatly appreciate the partnership and commitment of MOLISA in the coordination and implementation of the 2nd National Action Month to promote gender equality and eliminate violence against women and girls in Viet Nam. The campaigns organized since 2012 showed a strong evidence of the great collaboration and partnership among ministries, social organizations and development partners.

Distinguished guests,

Everyone has a right to live free of violence. It’s a fundamental right – a right enshrined in international human rights law. Yet gender based violence against women and girls continues to be a serious problem in almost every country in the world.

Globally, one in every three women is subjected to violation by men, often close to her – father, husband, boyfriend, uncle, and supervisor, colleague at workplace, etc.

In Viet Nam, many people are familiar with the National Survey on Domestic Violence against Women which indicates:

58% of ever-married women said that they had experienced at least one form of physical, sexual and emotional violence from someone close, at some point in their lives.

87% said they had been sexually harassed in public.

10% said they had been sexually assaulted by their spouses.

But 87% of victims did not seek help due to the lack of available services. Many were also afraid to speak up due to the fear of stigma, discrimination and further harassment.

Next year, with support of DFAT, UNFPA will work in collaboration with MOLSIA and GSO to update these figures as well as to expand the scope of the survey.

Today is not about the statistics. Today is about the experience of the survivors themselves.

Ladies and gentlemen,

A collection of about one thousands photos displayed at the exhibition today of which about eight hundred photos were taken by twenty GBV survivors themselves. These photos are telling us the real stories about the life of GBV survivors. We will not only see the tears, the pains but also the smiles, and the inner strength of these women. After difficult time of suffering violence, these women have stood up, raised their voices and bravely went across the storm to brighter future life. This will be a great motivation inspiring other women who are suffering violence to break the silence.

We need to create an enabling environment for GBV victims to speak up by addressing cultural norms that are constructed by the patriarchal system  contributing to gender stereotypes , and ensuring that the essential services for GBV survivors are available and accessible.

Distinguished guests,

Once again, I would like to thank MOLISA, Embassy of Netherlands, KOICA and CSAGA for co-organizing this exhibition and joining hands together to combat gender based violence against women and girls over the past years.

Let me share my hope that this photo exhibition will enhance our understanding of this issue, and make a real contribution to ending violence against women and girls in Viet Nam.

Behind these photos are dreams and hopes for the future, a future free of violence.

Let’s speak out when you are suffering violence. What we have seen on the news in the last few weeks confirms the idea if we speak out about violence, we can make changes and protect future generation of young women against some forms of violence.

Ending violence against women should be a priority for every man and woman.

Together, we can make Viet Nam safer and more equitable for women and girls.

May I wish you a fruitful and enjoyable event.