"A suffering heart". On the health of women living with violence in Vietnam.

Detta är en avhandling från Umeå : Umeå universitet

Sammanfattning: The present study addresses abused Vietnamese women’s experience of health, as well as other health problems and family conflicts, while also taking into consideration professional dealings with family violence. Women’s health in everyday life is largely affected when they are exposed to violence by their male partners. Such violence exists in most societies around the world, also in the Vietnamese context, where the official policies focus on gender equality, together with a strong family concept. Thus, the present study aims to contribute to an empirical understanding of the relation between women’s health and violence against women within the family, from three perspectives: That of the society (organisations and professionals), the neighbourhood community (family members and neighbours), and the individuals (the abused women).The thesis is based on three qualitative interview studies. To reach the official Vietnamese society, national organisations working against violence were invited to participate and eleven professionals of different positions were interviewed. The semi-structured interviews were analysed with content analysis. To include the neighbourhood community perspectives on health and conflicts in family life, twenty-two men and women of different ages and backgrounds, but without any known history of abuse, participated in sixteen semi-structured interviews. For the third study twelve abused women presented life-stories through indepth interviews. The interviews of study two and three were analysed using narrative approach.On a professional level, the discussion on violence focus on the abusive men’s violent acts, on how to promote good social relations and how to make people in general recognise violence as a public health problem and value gender equality. In family everyday life, the informants consider women as the main responsible for the family well-being, but find cooperative support necessary in daily life. To adjust family life to social change, and to make everyone feel important, means to avoid boredom or distress are strategies used, since such conditions are considered to cause troubled relations, abuse and suffering. Violence within the family is seen as interpersonal problems where both partners are to blame for family dysfunction. Empathic sentiments, mutual support and communication are means to handle problems, and a harmonious and happy family is seen as protecting health.The abused women experience vulnerability, which they see as the foremost threat to their health. Injuries as well as worries cause harm. The abused women blame their husbands, for the violence, but they rarely confront them. Instead they use a number of strategies to handle their situation; through enduring, making their husband’s face others judgements, or divorce. They see violence as part of an everyday life of hardship, and consider that bearing too many troubles harms their health.A coherent approach between the different perspectives is needed if the abused women and their families will have a possibility to experience health. The professionals need to consider both public equality policies and the individuals’ experience of vulnerability. The abused women, and abusive men, would benefit from a neighbourhood community that is open to individual failure but still supportive and encouraging. To experience health this study found that it matters what position a person has, what expectations and judgement a person face, how well a person can manage her obligations, and what room for action she possesses.