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Commission Says Violence against Women Still a Major Concern

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Violence against women and especially domestic violence remains an issue in Laos, a recent study undertaken by the National Commission for the Advancement of Women (NCAW) has revealed.

The NCAW and several ministries outlined the findings of “The National Study on Violence against Women” at a consultation meeting held in Vientiane yesterday, chaired by the Director General of the NCAW Secretariat, Ms. Chansoda Phonethip.

The report noted that there are difficulties in addressing violence against women which are largely based on society’s poor understanding of gender equality.

According to the NCAW Secretariat committee, this kind of violence is rooted in tradition and is very difficult to eradicate.

The study found that nearly half of the women and men interviewed in a survey thought that violence against women was acceptable. Obviously this attitude must change and points to the greater need for communities to be educated about gender equality.

The NCAW Secretariat also reported that the study revealed that most women experienced violence at the hands of their husband and that this behaviour had a direct effect on their wellbeing.

Women were often too embarrassed to speak out about their experience and were also concerned about not tarnishing their family’s reputation so they were reluctant to tell anyone about their suffering.

Ms. Chansoda said that in the past two years the NCAW Secretariat and its partners had made progress on a framework for the protection and eradication of violence against women and had improved legislation to match women’s rights.

The Secretariat has published handbooks for the public with the aim of deepening understanding by educating people about violence against women and the issues that surround it.

“The NCAW Secretariat has also strengthened the understanding of government bodies on the protection of women, hoping to curb violence against women and children in Laos,” Ms. Chansoda said.

Meeting p articipants discussed plans to further protect against and hopefully eradicate violence against women in 2016-2017.

They also highlighted a framework they will be following in the near future, including the promotion of gender equality in local communities, an anti-violence workshop, and the creation of support centres for local communities to make it easier to reach target groups.

The NCAW says it will work to counteract cultural traditions and try to stamp out actions that uphold divisions between men and women, especially with regard to violence, and the Commission will do more to protect Lao women and girls from all forms of harmful behaviour, both physical and mental.

 Source: Vientiane Times