THE NEW GENERATIONS – SAYING NO TO HARASSMENT
On 17 October 2021, the Management and Sustainable Development Institute (MSD) and Plan International Vietnam held an online chat with the theme “The New Generation: Saying No to Harassment”. The event is part of the project “Safer city for girls” and was conducted in response to International Girls’ Day on 11 October, Vietnam Women’s Day on 20 October, and the National Month of Action towards Gender Equality.
The Gen Y and Gen Z participants shared stories and real experiences of the harassment that women and girls face in public places and on the internet from the perspective of the young, thereby jointly giving suggestions and initiatives to reduce and end sexual harassment, creating safe communities not only for women and girls, but also for everyone.
Attendees of the event include Mr. Trung Anh and Viet Anh – YouTuber group 1977 Vlog; Mr. Nguyen Trong Tien – representative of the Champions of Change Club (COC) of the University of Transportation; Ms. Nguyen Ngoc Nhi – representative of Van Noi High School COC Club – Dong Anh. Ms. Chu Thu Ha, the Communication and Event Manager of MSD was the MC of the event.
Will silence keep you safe?
According to a survey of 100 teenagers, 75% of respondents have been harassed or abused, and 23.7% of people are silent when harassed or have witnessed harassment.
Explaining the silence of the victims and the community, Viet Anh shared: “In my opinion, most of the silence comes from the feeling of weakness. Victims of harassment feel hopeless to fight back, or speaking up will not solve the problem. Those who witnessed the surroundings may also fear that speaking up will affect them or have negative consequences. However, I hope you understand and believe that we are only weak when we keep silent. And if we speak out to denounce, it is the harassers and abusers who are weak.”
Nguyen Ngoc Nhi also shared her story and suggested: “I have witnessed stories of girls around me being harassed, especially on public transport like buses. Your silence will inadvertently cause these actions to continue. In case of being harassed, we could fight back either by asking the perpetrator to stop the action immediately or asking people around for help. Someone will always be there to help you.”
Discussing the boundary between compliments, compliments, teasing, and harassment, Nguyen Trong Tien said: “Actually the boundary is very thin, but it is quite easy to recognize through looks, words, and gestures. It would be a compliment if it was accompanied by friendly looks and gestures. But if the eyes were staring and rude words came out of the mouth, it would be harassment.”
Trung Anh added: “Joking also depends a lot on the level of intimacy in the relationship of the speaker and the listener. However, in all kinds of relationships, you should praise wisely and avoid any jokes related to sex and body shaming.”
The guests agreed that behaviors such as touching, staring, whistling, and saying words like “delicious”, etc. that make a person feel uncomfortable and unsafe are considered harassment. Even behaviors that are unintentional, and even well-intentioned, that the recipient does not feel comfortable with are still inappropriate behaviors for the recipient or victim.
Discussing with the audience watching the live stream, the speakers also agreed that women and girls should be equipped with more skills to identify, prevent and deal with harassers, however, if they are harassed, the girls are never wrong for not being able to protect themselves, it’s entirely the fault of the harasser. Trung Anh and Viet Anh also added: The victim is afraid of the harasser, and the harasser is also afraid of being discovered. Therefore, girls and witnesses should be ready to speak up and ask the harasser to stop their harassment immediately and seek help. This will help prevent and reduce harassment.
Cyber harassment: It is necessary to disseminate the skills of using the Internet safely
Harassment is present in various types on the Internet. It might be a comment about appearance, solicitation, flirting, sharing or sending sensitive images and clips, or being misinformed. Any comments like these can have real consequences for the victim.
From the perspective of a girl, Ngoc Nhi shared: “We can’t choose whether we are victims of harassment or not, but we can learn to respond and resist. For me, I will not talk to strangers, do not click on images and links sent from strangers. I will also block that account and seek help from relatives, teachers and authorities if the incident is more serious.”
Ms. Chu Thu Ha – Communication and Events Management (MSD) shared some safe skills on the Internet for everyone: avoiding sharing too much personal information on social networks, using complex passwords, installing safe security steps to limit the leakage of personal information and images, not joining groups and groups chat with unhealthy content, etc. to minimize becoming the attacking target, harassment or becoming harassers on the Internet.
Nguyen Trong Tien shared the efforts that he and the COC Club at the University of Transport take: “We will take advantage of the positive side on the social networks, especially recently participating in a communication contest organized by Plan and MSD so that positive messages can reach young people. I think anyone can help in ending harassment and building a safe society by the simple way such as liking, commenting, and sharing positive and useful information.”
As a content creator well-known among youngsters, Viet Anh said: “Changing the perception and actions of the whole community is not something that can be done in a short time. When making videos, our team wants to bring positive messages to viewers in a gentle, funny way. And the project will gradually change the thoughts and perceptions of each person. We will work together towards a society that is free of harassment, no more negativity.”
At the end of the event, all attendees came up with strong messages and symbolic gestures expressing their commitment to protecting her from any harassment in both real life and online. Ms. Chu Thu Ha stated: “Rather than being a single chopstick standing lonely, together we could become a solid, strong and unbreakable bunch of chopsticks. When we speak up, any harassment of women and girls wherever they may be, in any form, must end. We believe in the enthusiasm, strength and ability to spread the positive message of the new generation of young people.”
Watch this livestream again here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?ref=watch_permalink&v=2020670521423418
About Management and Sustainable Development Institute (MSD)
As a Vietnamese NGO, MSD strives to act for a favorable development environment for the development of social organizations and promote the realization of the rights of marginalized and marginalized community groups. vulnerable groups, especially children, young people, women and people with disabilities. Currently, MSD is recognized as a leading organization in coordinating, supporting and providing capacity-building, training and consulting services to civil society organizations in Vietnam. In addition, MSD is also a professional organization that effectively responds to the needs and protects the rights of disadvantaged communities, including promoting gender equality, through programs, projects and provision of services. services to support children, young people, women, immigrants and people with disabilities, etc. in Vietnam.
About Plan International
Plan International started operating in Vietnam in 1954. At that time, through its Sponsorship program, Plan International helped improve the lives of thousands of families in the South. In 1993, Plan International returned to Vietnam, moving to operate in the North and Central regions, giving priority to ethnic minority communities. By 2021, Plan International will take action so that 2 million girls from 1,875 communities in Vietnam can learn, lead, decide and develop.
Key areas of intervention include: (1) Quality and inclusive education; (2) Improve child nutrition and health services in the community; (3) Strengthening capacity to respond to natural disasters and adapt to climate change; (4) Safe, friendly and economically sustainable environment for immigrant children and youth; (5) Protect children from all forms of violence and abuse.
(Ms) Chu Thu Ha – Event and Communication Manager
Telephone: 024 62769056 – 0852577220
Address: 17T9, 1007 Room, Hoang Dao Thuy street, Thanh Xuan district, Hanoi