Violence against women rises amid pandemic

Diplomatic Correspondent

1 December, 2020 12:00 AM printer

Violence against women and girls at home affects millions globally and the problem is particularly pervasive as it takes place in a space they should feel most secure.

According to the UN data, one in three women worldwide experiences physical or sexual violence mostly at the hands of an intimate partner.

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world, some 243 million women and girls, aged between 19 and 49, were affected by sexual and/or physical violence by intimate partners in 2019.

Since the pandemic, with lockdowns measures, countries around the world have seen an alarming rise in reporting on violence against women, especially domestic violence.

The problem only worsened with the outbreak of the coronavirus prevalence with sharp rises in domestic violence globally. Countries that managed some degree of success against Covid-19 were not left untouched by the accompanying scourge of domestic violence, said the UN on Monday.

As the world retreated inside homes due to the lockdown measures introduced to crush the virus, reports showed an alarming increase in the already existing pandemic of violence against women.

“Accompanying the crisis has been a spike in domestic violence reporting, at exactly the time that services, including rule of law, health and shelters, are being diverted to address the pandemic,” stated the UN Secretary-General’s report, ‘Shared Responsibility, Global Solidarity: Responding to the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19’.

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign that kicks off on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until December 10 when the Human Rights Day observed. It was launched by activists at the inaugural Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991 and continues to be coordinated each year by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership. It is used as an organising strategy by individuals and organisations around the world to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.

In support of this civil society initiative, under the leadership of the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General’s UNiTE by 2030 to End Violence against Women campaign (UNiTE campaign) calls for global actions to increase awareness, galvanise advocacy efforts and share knowledge and innovations.