Divorce can be difficult for anyone involved, but perhaps more so within communities that have long discouraged it. This is the case for many Vietnamese communities across the United States, and even though views toward divorce may be changing, there are a large number of California residents who face challenges when taking the brave step of starting a new life.
Last October, The Los Angeles Times covered this topic exactly, stating that even Vietnamese immigrants and those born in America struggled against the taboos of divorce in Vietnamese culture. Younger generations often face pressure from more traditionally-minded family and friends, and while those views are certainly valid, they are not always suitable for every couple. According to The Times, Vietnam continues to rank among the lowest for divorce rates worldwide — a stark comparison against the U.S., which has the highest rates for divorce. For various reasons, including financial situations, fear of judgment or simply traditional pressure, many Vietnamese couples have taken the harder road by choosing to remain in an unhappy marriage. However, statistics show an increase in divorces among Vietnamese Americans, with roughly 16 divorces per 1,000 marriages.
Many might be wondering, are the Vietnames communities’ views against divorce really as serious as they seem? Cultural Atlas, a resource for cultural behaviors and practices, shares that family holds a major significance in Vietnamese households; however, it also notes that gender roles are changing amoung younger generations. Divorce can still cast a negative light on women in many Vietnamese households, but is still a common practice. It is clear that, like many cultures, there are Vietnamese traditions that are likely here to stay, as well as those that may be left behind.