What can be done to protect women against violence?

Women’s rights activists have observed November 25 as a day to make a stand against gender-based violence since 1981 and the date has been designated International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Vientiane Times asked some men and women for their ideas about ways to protect women against violence.

Ms Yai, a student at the Institute of Information and Communications Technology in Vientiane: As a woman I am conscious of the fact that I need to protect myself against men when I go out at night because women are frequently attacked by men. Parents should teach their sons to be respectful of girls. I’d like to warn other girls to be on their guard against ill-intentioned boys and men because they may hurt your heart or your body. Nowadays our world has changed and anything unexpected can happen and can be hard to control. And if something bad has happened, it may take you a while to recover or deal with the aftermath.

Ms Akkhasone Singsena, a vendor in Xaysettha district: I’ve heard of many cases of violence against girls. I advise women who remarry not to leave a young daughter at home alone with her stepfather, because he may be tempted to abuse her. If a widow remarries she should choose someone who is kind and who respects her children, then nothing bad will befall your daughter. I’d like to see village authorities put out more publicity about family law and women’s rights, then they could clamp down on harmful practices in their community. If this is done, men would have a better understanding of decent behaviour and what’s acceptable in family life, especially with regard to their wives and young girls.

Mr Konepadith Xoumphonphak, a student at the National University of Laos: This is a big issue everywhere in the world, particularly among women in remote areas, who are more affected by violence than women in towns. However, in some cities, women also suffer violence from their husbands. For example, women are hurt by their husbands when they take a mistress and their husbands neglect them and their children, so that wives have to raise their children alone. It’s a huge problem for women. Men should put a stop to their bad behaviour. On behalf of all men I promise I won’t hurt women because they are the same gender as my mother.
Ms Pao Vongsakdy, a vendor in Xaythany district:  Men and women in rural areas need to have more understanding about their rights and gender equality. For example, men need to know how they should treat women and what’s acceptable and what’s not. Men shouldn’t go out drinking at night when they are married because when men get drunk they may lose control and attack their wife or children. The way to eliminate violence against woman is to educate men.

Mr Chanthaphone Khamphilavong, a student at the Institute of Information and Communications Technology in Vientiane: There are many organisations around the world that advocate for the elimination of violence against woman, but they are not yet present in all countries. I would like our government to do more to protect women and support those who are victims of violence. We should also provide more rural woman with an education because knowledge is power and could enable them to protect themselves against violence. If they are better informed they would at least know how to avoid bad situations and are less likely to be victimised.

By Phouthong Sivongsa
 
(Latest Update November 26, 2018)


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