updated 24 Dec 2011, 07:05
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More than half of Vietnamese wives abused by husbands: study

HANOI - More than half of all Vietnamese wives have been the victim of physical, sexual or emotional abuse by their partners, a joint study by the government and the United Nations said Thursday.

One in every three women who have been married said they had suffered physical or sexual violence from their husbands at some time, according to the first such study of domestic violence in the communist nation.

Including emotional abuse - such as insults, humiliation or threats - the figure rises to 58 percent.

Nine percent said they were currently the victims of physical or sexual violence.

"Although domestic violence is widespread, the problem is very much hidden," said Henrica Jansen, the lead researcher of the study, which surveyed 4,838 women between 18 and 60 years old.

Many women considered the violence "normal", she added.

About half of those who suffered from violence said it was the first time they had shared their personal experience.

"This report highlights the urgency of breaking the silence," said Jean-Marc Olive, representative of the World Health Organisation in Vietnam.

Children are also victims. Nearly one quarter of mothers of under 15-year-olds said their children had been abused physically by their husbands.

The study also found that 10 percent of the women were victims of violence at the hands of male relatives other than their partners.

About three percent of the victims admitted they suffered from sexual abuse before they reached 15 years old, mostly from strangers.

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