Violence Against Women: The Hidden Pandemic
The Covid-19 pandemic has prompted a global crisis. With infections soaring in previous months, hospitals overcrowded and understaffed, families split, and countless jobs lost. Amongst all of this there is a hidden pandemic, violence against women and girls.
The United Nations estimates that 243 million women and girls aged 15-49 experienced sexual and or physical violence by an intimate partner in the past year before the pandemic started. Since then, the instances of this violence have increased, especially domestic violence. They also found that there is an increase in calls to domestic violence helplines in multiple countries and lack of support for survivors as efforts and resources have been diverted in response to immediate covid-19 relief.
What is gender based violence?
According to the European Commission, gender based violence is violence directed against a person because of that person's gender or violence that affects persons of a particular gender dis-proportionality. Women and girls are the main victims of gender based violence.
Why has violence against women and girls increased?
There are many factors that have led to this increase in violence against women and girls across the planet during the Covid-19 pandemic. Stay at home orders and isolation periods mean that many are trapped at home with their abusers either a partner or family member. In addition to this, cramped living conditions or worries about security, health or money mean victims feel like they have no options of escape. Another factor is how public spaces have been left largely empty meaning when women venture out to work, school or to shop they are left vulnerable to attack on the street or on public transport.
Violence against women statistics
Violence against women and girls has always been an issue, it’s not a new concept. Before the pandemic hit 1 in 3 women experienced physical or sexual violence, mostly by an intimate partner. There has been a number of studies on the violence against women and girls during the pandemic. 12 out of 14 studies showed a significant increase in violence in 37 countries they studied. Another study found domestic violence was increased more in places with stricter lockdown rules with another finding that online-help seeking for domestic violence in Asia increased from 10% to 70%.
What’s the solution?
The UN is working on prevention of violence and increasing access to social services like helplines and shelters. They are also supporting these local services by diverting resources and efforts back into these essential resources now the pandemic is under control in some countries. They are also trying to boost awareness of this increase of violence and provide support to those who have experienced and/ or witnessed violence. Silence breeds abuse so if you or anyone you know is experiencing or has experienced violence then please find the courage to speak out. We support a local charity, The Zinthyia Trust who support local women escaping from abuse and domestic violence, read all about them on their website here. We donate a reusable period cup to The Zinthyia Trust for every CupIT we sell.
If you are from the UK and need some support with the sort of topics we have discussed today then check out Refuge. Refuge is a free national support line (this is their number > 0808 2000 247) for those experiencing domestic violence, they also have a live chat option if you can't talk on the phone.
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