Studies on masculinity and gender issues, and particularly on domestic violence in fishing communities, are rare in fisheries research literature which tends, rather, to focus on technical, biological, economic and governance aspects of the industry and the people in it. In some cases, social and health groups reach out to people in fishing communities in their efforts to overcome gender-based violence. One such case was reported in the 2013 paper in the Oxfam periodical Gender and Development , called “‘Because I am a man, I should be gentle to my wife and my children’: positive masculinity to stop gender-based violence in a coastal district in Vietnam” by Tu-Anh Hoang, Trang Thu Quach and Tam Thanh Tran.
This paper describes an intervention targeted at men who had been involved in cases of gender-based violence and worked with them to create a greater understanding of the immediate and culturally embedded causes of the violence. The project helped the men, all fishermen, to develop more positive behaviours in their family relationships, winning them greater appreciation in their homes and in society.
Abstract: Despite the efforts of the government to promote gender equality in Vietnam, genderbased violence is still a critical issue. This article explores a pilot project, the Responsible Men Club, developed and implemented in a coastal district in Vietnam from 2010 to 2012 to work with men to stop violence against their wives. Focusing on masculinity and promoting gender equality in a culturally relevant way significantly improves acceptance of the programme by men themselves and their communities, and enhances its impact. We argue that empowerment, a process often used for women, is also important for men. To construct and encourage a positive, non-violent version of masculinity, men need relevant knowledge, skills, mentoring, and peer support. It is a challenge for gender-based violence programmes to work on increasing public awareness of the issue of violence against women, and reduce society’s tolerance of it, without increasing stigmatisation of and objections to men in general, and to perpetrator men in particular.