[sixties-l] Women

From: Joe McDonald (joe@countryjoe.com)
Date: Thu Jun 22 2000 - 02:00:06 CUT

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    i would like to apologize to the women on the sixties list. Thanks to the insight
    of Roz Payne i realize that the list is dominated by men ranting and raving,
    myself being one of them, just the same as it was in the 60's. If there is any
    hope for the country and the world it is the female point of view and the
    leadership of women. One half of human history belongs to women but we are
    overwhelmed with the male point of view.

    It is shocking and yet understandable that violent behavior by women is up in
    current statistics and that smoking tabacco is up in women. Florence Nightingale
    warned her generation against becoming doctors because they would start acting
    like men.

    i do not know how the list can deal with this problem. i am sure out of 600
    members there must be more than just a few women but getting them to post msgs is
    something that cannot be forced. In the veterans community hearing from women
    who were in the Vietnam War is difficult for they rightfully feel threatened by
    our patriarchy.

    As a start i submit this article on violence against women in present day Vietnam
    but this is not isolated. All over the planet violence against women is in full
    effect. The issue of sexism should be addressed by the sixties list.

    cheers, country joe mcdonald

    > << Domestic violence rages in Vietnam
    > Posted at 1:06 a.m. PDT Sunday, May 28, 2000
    > Mercury News Vietnam Bureau
    > HANOI -- Her face is unmarked just now -- unmarked if you look past the
    > sadness -- but as she describes the beatings, and as she weeps, her small
    > hands flutter nervously around her face, as if she's protecting herself from
    > her husband's further blows.
    > Huong -- she's afraid to use her real name -- says the blackened eyes and
    > broken teeth don't much bother her. What's far worse is the humiliation she
    > suffers because her husband, a 45-year-old professor, likes to beat her
    > while his 20-year-old mistress, one of his students, watches them through a
    > bedroom window.
    > ``That emotional pain is the worst pain,'' says Huong, 40, the mother of two
    > young girls. ``I was an orphan and I was severely beaten when I was a young
    > child, so the physical pain doesn't bother me too much. I can stand it.''
    > Standing it, taking the blame for it, keeping quiet about it -- this is how
    > most Vietnamese women cope with what has become a virtually unchecked
    > epidemic of domestic violence here.
    > Despite's communist Vietnam's constitutional guarantees of the protection of
    > women and equality between the sexes, many husbands routinely beat their
    > wives with virtually no criminal consequences. Domestic violence has become
    > a kind of shared national horror in Vietnam, a dirty family secret that
    > everybody knows and nobody tells.
    > ``It's everywhere, absolutely everywhere,'' says sociologist Le thi Quy, one
    > of the few scholars to have done serious research on spousal abuse in
    > Vietnam. ``It happens with every class of people, not just in rural families
    > or poor families or uneducated families with low standards.
    > ``We still don't have many statistics, but I chose one village at random, a
    > very quiet place in suburban Hanoi. I interviewed 30 women there, and all 30
    > had been beaten by their husbands. Every day, every month, year in and year
    > out, more and more women are victims.''
    > It wasn't until 1995 that Quy, in a groundbreaking paper, became the first
    > scholar to use the English term ``domestic violence'' with a Vietnamese
    > translation: bao luc gia dinh. Even now, she and the handful of academics
    > trying to track the problem have had trouble doing research because
    > Vietnamese women are so reluctant to talk about it.
    > Disquieting silence
    > Media, propaganda agencies fail to address violence
    > Domestic violence is barely mentioned in the state-run media or the official
    > propaganda campaigns against ``social evils'' such as prostitution and drug
    > abuse. Even the Vietnam Women's Union, which works for the advancement of
    > women, isn't willing to talk about it; senior leaders rejected numerous
    > interview requests submitted by the Mercury News.
    > The Women's Union is criticized in a recent World Bank study that says the
    > organization -- along with the police, courts and local governments -- has
    > been wholly ineffective in stemming a dramatic increase in domestic
    > violence.
    > As a result, the report concludes, ``Representatives of these institutions
    > often advise women to tolerate their situations. . . . There appears to be
    > no collective action being taken by or on behalf of women to address
    > domestic violence on a societal basis.''
    > Meanwhile, there's not a single women's shelter or halfway house in the
    > whole country, no place where a woman can seek temporary refuge from an
    > abusive husband. Moreover, there's just one drop-in counseling center and
    > hotline in Ho Chi Minh City, a city of nearly 6 million people, and just a
    > telephone hotline in the capital, Hanoi, home to about 3 million people. The
    > hotline is staffed around the clock by volunteers, who handle about 750
    > domestic-violence calls a month.
    > ``Over the last few years, domestic violence has not only increased but also
    > become more cruel and brutal,'' Quy says, citing case after horrific case: A
    > wealthy doctor who got a light prison term after killing his wife by
    > slitting her throat with a scalpel. A jealous husband who splashed acid on
    > his wife's face so she would be unattractive to other men. Another man in Ho
    > Chi Minh City who, aided by his mother, stripped his wife naked and then
    > dragged her through the streets while inviting his neighbors to come out and
    > watch him beat her.
    > ``Men now think they have the right to beat their wives,'' says Quy, who
    > admits with a grimace that her father, now dead, often beat her mother.
    > ``Sadly, even today, the wives accept this, even the ones who might be
    > earning the bulk of the family income. They think if they make a mistake the
    > man needs to teach them, that it's his right to beat them.''
    > So how many Vietnamese women are beaten for their ``mistakes'' each year?
    > How many enter the hospital with broken arms or punctured eardrums? How many
    > men are arrested for violently ``teaching'' their wives? How many are
    > prosecuted? How many are ever charged with violating Article 63 of Vietnam's
    > Constitution, which says that ``all acts of discrimination against women
    > (or) hurting women's dignity are strictly forbidden''?
    > Mostly, the government says, it doesn't know the answers to such questions,
    > although a state legal journal said husbands killing their wives accounted
    > for about 14 percent of all killings in 1992. Five years later, that figure
    > had risen to 20 percent. More detailed statistics are either unreliable or
    > non-existent, even while the anecdotal evidence abounds -- stories of acid
    > attacks to the face and breasts, knifings, marital rape, burnings, beatings.
    > These kinds of violent incidents, experts say, often are precipitated by a
    > husband's drinking, a wife's infidelity or stress created by economic
    > hardships in the family.
    > ``These stories are so commonplace that I believe it's quite obvious we're
    > seeing an epidemic,'' says The Ngu, a TV director in Ho Chi Minh City who
    > has developed a new television series focusing on domestic abuse. Some
    > episodes are based on real situations, Ngu says.
    > ``It's sad to say, but Vietnam still hasn't gotten rid of the feudal way of
    > living. We are a communist society, yes, but things are still far from
    > equal. If equality is 50-50, I'd say here it's 80-20.''
    > A victim from early on
    > Orphaned as a child, married to an abuser
    > Huong is part of that bottom 20. Born in Hanoi, she was orphaned at an early
    > age and quit school after the sixth grade. She was a diligent worker,
    > however, and eventually became a construction inspector. When she broke her
    > back on the job, she spent 19 days in the hospital.
    > Her husband-to-be, she say, nursed her with care and kindness. He also was
    > not fazed by a test that showed Huong would not be able to have children.
    > ``He said to me, `It's OK, we can live together happily with each other
    > until we're old.' ''
    > They married soon after that and found a small apartment in Hanoi. In short
    > order, Huong found herself pregnant. The test was wrong, and today she has
    > two girls, 8 and 12.
    > A few years ago, Huong's husband began an affair with a student, a young
    > woman who was also a neighbor and a friend of their family. The affair had
    > been going on for 15 months before Huong discovered it, and she asked the
    > young woman to stop seeing her husband.
    > ``He was very angry that I had spoken to the girl,'' Huong says. ``He
    > shouted that I had become thin and weak and he didn't like me any more. He
    > threatened to blow up the house and he started beating me.''
    > When Huong became pregnant again, her husband forced her to have an
    > abortion.
    > ``She told me she had to go to the abortion clinic by herself,'' says Nguyen
    > Van Anh, the founder of the Hanoi crisis hotline, who has counseled Huong
    > almost daily for the past year.
    > ``From the outside, they appear to be a happy family. But they're not.
    > There's great sadness and fear there. She's very afraid of him. He orders
    > her to be silent, and she obeys.''
    > Van Anh suggested to Huong that she threaten to tell her husband's academic
    > colleagues about his abuse. But when Huong tried this, her husband dragged
    > her in front of their bedroom window and, with his girlfriend looking in,
    > beat her unconscious.
    > No neighbors intervened; no police were called. So Huong -- with no
    > education, no job prospects and little chance of independence -- continues
    > to endure the occasional beatings and daily humiliations.
    > ``Now my husband just treats me like a servant,'' she says.
    > In the rare event that domestic assaults get reported to the police,
    > officers typically arrest the man only if the beating has been particularly
    > savage or if there's a history of violent attacks on the woman. If a wife
    > does press charges, she almost always drops them within a day or two,
    > usually because of the social embarrassment her family will suffer if she
    > proceeds. In the typical Vietnamese family, responsibility for domestic
    > tranquillity falls to the wife.
    > Most Vietnamese, men and women alike, believe that husbands often are
    > justified in hitting their wives. According to the World Bank survey, which
    > was conducted by Vietnamese researchers, ``A large proportion of women and
    > men view a husband's occasional blow as a normal function of his role as
    > head of the family and educator of his wife and children.''
    > ``It's partly my fault that my husband beats me,'' says Huong. ``I've been
    > quite sick and I cannot meet the sex demands of my husband any more. Also,
    > I'm not well-educated and when he comes home he wants to share his work, but
    > I can't really understand what he talks about. Maybe that's another reason
    > why he beats me.''
    > Most worrisome to Quy and others is an apparent return to Confucian
    > traditions that make women subservient to men in both the family and the
    > society.
    > ``During the (Vietnam War), in North Vietnam there weren't many cases of
    > domestic violence because respect for women and people's self-discipline
    > were very strong,'' Quy says. ``But ever since 1975, backward customs have
    > crept back in.''
    > Still unequal standing
    > Changes to family law do not address violence
    > Vice President Nguyen thi Binh, Vietnam's highest-ranking female official,
    > says women still are not seen as equal to men in politics and the society,
    > even though women played heroic roles in North Vietnam's military victory.
    > Policies regarding women ``have not been put in the right place'' during the
    > postwar period.
    > ``We're not at the same level,'' she says, ``and that means we still have to
    > struggle for higher roles and position.''
    > The National Assembly, now in session in Hanoi, has been rubber-stamping a
    > number of amendments to Vietnam's Marriage and Family Law, but none of these
    > changes addresses the spiral in domestic violence.
    > ``The law (does not go far) enough,'' says Quy. ``We need more punishments.
    > We don't need shelters for Vietnamese women, we need jail for Vietnamese
    > men. Taking women out of their homes to a shelter would make them feel like
    > they were the ones doing wrong. Meanwhile, the men would simply stay at
    > home, drinking, with no punishment.
    > ``What we're really struggling with is a thousand-year-old custom, this
    > horrible idea of men looking down on women. The government has always put
    > other issues first -- AIDS, drugs, overpopulation. But now it's time to talk
    > about domestic violence. It's not a private matter just for families. It's a
    > national emergency.''
    > Contact Mark McDonald at gmarksjmn@fpt.vn <mailto:gmarksjmn@fpt.vn> or
    > 011-844-933-4082.

    -- "Ira Furor Brevis Est " - Anger is a brief madness

    country joe Home Pg <http://www.countryjoe.com>
    country joe's tribute to Florence Nightingale
    Berkeley Vietnam Veterans Memorial <http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/Links/Comm/vvm>
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