HanoiWhen his superiors overheard Giang being texted and sexually assaulted by a male colleague, they said, “Nevertheless, he struggled and teased a bit.”
In July 2021, 26-year-old Giang, an employee at a municipal health station in Hanoi, went to the general ultrasound bureau’s internal medicine clinic tired. At the end of the investigation, Duc, 34, who examined her, said she should leave her phone number for easy communication.
Late in the evening of the same day, Giang received the first message from Germany, encouraging him not to worry, all test parameters are normal. “Colleagues for many years, today I can take care of you”. Giang is a bit embarrassed by this news.
In the following evenings, Duc used the pretext to ask about her health, to talk about her feelings and to compliment her on her beautiful and beautiful body. Giang felt uncomfortable and was reminded to quit, but the next night Duc wrote again, even suggesting sex.
Offended, Giang blocked the number, photographed the messages, and reported the harassment to his superiors. She almost cried while telling the story, but the boss didn’t think it was “harassment” but just “a normal joke”.
Almost half a year after reporting the incident to his superiors, Giang saw that Duc was still working at the same agency and still repeating the same words. “What do you want to know? If the story gets out, it will affect everyone’s general psychology and the unit’s reputation,” the boss grumbled as Giang repeated the handling of Duc.
Giang’s peers initially showed sympathy and defense, but after half a year someone thought she was “making herself”. Giang was beginning to feel isolated. While waiting for the change, Giang decided to retire.
In a similar situation that opinion poll Above VnExpress showed that 13% of readers with 133 votes said that sexual messages and jokes are not sexual harassment. “Although you agree with the victim, you have to look at the facts. It’s normal in the workplace,” said one reader Comment.
The results of the United Nations Agency for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) 2019 survey on violence against women found that 11.4% of women had experienced one or more forms of sexual harassment in their lifetime .
dr Khuat Thu Hong, director of the Institute for Social Development Studies (ISDS), said sexual harassment is fairly common but it is “very difficult” to research and produce accurate statistics. In part because the victim is unaware of the harassment. But the bigger reason is that “there are so many things that keep victims from speaking out.”
According to her, the victim with the “mild” level of harassment can tell friends, co-workers and relatives about it. But the more severe the abuse, the more likely the victim is to “dig deep and suffer alone.”
in the same opinion poll Above VnExpress, 14% of readers remain silent when asked what they do when they are being harassed in the office. Some readers also left advice for victims: “You should examine your personality”; “If you keep doing it, do it, if not, then take a break, you can definitely complain”; “It’s okay not to lose anything.”
dr Khuat Thu Hong believes views are less benevolent tendency to blame scare the victim. When the story comes out, many people will often ask the question, “Why is only this girl being molested?”.
“In this tide of malicious public opinion, victims often find themselves isolated, affecting their lives and honor; little sympathy, but distrust, too much blame. That’s the scariest thing,” Ms. Hong said. .
Lawyer Vu Tien Vinh has provided legal counsel to many victims of sexual harassment, admitting that most of them were frightened and mentally unstable. When they sought advice from a lawyer, they expressed their determination to speak out and bring the case to light. But when they got home they were confused, changed, didn’t want to continue.
“Victims will wonder whether or not the denunciation will result in the perpetrator being treated, whether it will solve any problems, but they will get in more trouble,” the attorney said.
The second barrier keeps victims from speaking according to the above two experts, processing mechanism. Lawyer Vinh said that sometimes harassment takes place in a hidden place in a short period of time, except for the victim and the harasser, there are no other witnesses. This is also why it is difficult to screen, treat and deter victims.
But according to Dr. Hong, even if the victim has the evidence and overcomes the initial fear of “public opinion,” the subsequent trials are likely to make her give up.
Ms. Hong noted that most developed countries have a one-stop-shop mechanism for victims, meaning they only need to call a single body, the police station, to report and explain the incident once. After that, the victim will be consulted and taken care of by medical, psychological, protective services…
Meanwhile, in Vietnam, theoretically, there are many departments and agencies responsible for recording and dealing with this problem: the head of the neighborhood, the president of the women’s union, the ward police, the chairman of the ward. , company unions, heads of authorities and organizations for the protection of women and children…
“Too many people are so divided, that means nobody. Imagine the victim having to tell the same sad story, torment her, present it many times, to how many people,” the institute said. ISDS boss expressed his opinion.
“The sanctions are not strong enough for the victims to feel unprotected. Harassment cases that go to court often have to wait until they depict fornication, rape and violence,” she said.
Attorney Vinh analyzed that so far at the level of legal documents only the Labor Code of 2019 regulates sexual harassment in the workplace. However, it is rather sketchy and easy to say: sexual harassment in the workplace is an act of a sexual nature by one person towards another person in the workplace without that person’s desire or consent. obtain.
In front, Code of Conduct on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace in Vietnam, Promulgated in 2015, defines sexual harassment as conduct “of a sexual nature that damages the dignity of women and men”. This is unacceptable, unwanted, and unreasonable behavior that offends recipients and creates an unstable, intimidating, hostile, and uncomfortable work environment.
According to this Code, sexual harassment can be through indecent remarks, sexual implications/disclosure of pornographic material…or through physical behavior such as contact, intentional touching or not. Desiring, touching, caressing, pinching, hugging or kissing to sexual assault, rape, rape.
The Criminal Code provides that only sexual acts such as fornication, rape and rape are punishable. Outside of this scope, harassment can only be subject to administrative penalties. Article 7, Decree 144/2021/ND-CP determining persons who commit sexual harassment and harassment; Pornographic, sexually provocative behavior in public places is punishable by a fine of VND 5-8 million.
According to UN Women’s research, a major factor that leaves victims unable to speak up is this Fear is not believed. because Many perpetrators have respectable looks, social standing, and public opinion that dismisses allegations without scrutiny.
Mistrust often arises when the victim is a child. When children tell their parents, they are often accused of making up lies, when in fact children often do not lie about their injuries.
Sometimes victims of abuse remain silent because The perpetrator is a person with power, position, influence. In the event of a denunciation, the victim not only has the possibility of being seen as the perpetrator, but also great fear of being threatened by the perpetrator to take revenge…
But from a legal point of view, lawyer Vinh advised the victim to stop thinking and thinking about a compromise with the perpetrator immediately because it was a “mistake”. A compromise often takes a long time, so the evidence and traces can be gone if the compromise cannot be reached. Second, after the compromise is unsuccessful, the perpetrator can return to challenge the victim because there is no evidence to suggest otherwise. Eventually, in a compromise, the victim has unknowingly fired the offender from the law and may continue to harass others.
dr Hong said victims need to speak up quickly, even though abusers may not be treated the way they want. This creates social effects that support the spirit of other individuals.
* The victim’s name has been changed.