Surge of Domestic Violence against women during lock down

We have updated the article with a link to the Domestic Violence guide 2020, as we had many questions where to go to seek help. You will find every possible contact here and useful tips that will help you to take action.

What we are hearing lately is stay home, stay safe, save lives but what if staying at home sometimes creates an unsafe situation?

As now people are in lock down together, in crowded homes. The pandemic has led to a global human suffering and economic devastation, a lot of men lost their job and have no income. Children must stay in and have no space to play or do activities. Families are separated. Domestic violence increases, gender-based violence increases. Stress levels arise. In recent weeks that we are in lock down, there has been a mayor increase in domestic violence worldwide.

Help now during the lock down is further complicated by the fact that the institutions are already under heavy pressure from the demands of dealing with the pandemic.  The Secretary-General of the United Nations Guterres is deeply concerned and calls on countries to act. The government,  no matter how heavily burdened with the other concerns of the current crisis, must be extra alert to domestic violence.

The data before the lock down shows us that in South and South- East Asia are the regions with the highest rates of such violence, at 37.7%. Women in the Arab world and Africa hardly rate any better, at 37%. In Latin America, it’s 30% , while in Eastern Europe and Central Asia a quarter of women faced violence. In North America, Western Europe, Japan and Oceania the rate is estimated to be 23%. France already has high numbers with regards to domestic violence but now during the pandemic the rate of domestic violence has gone up from 30% to 36%. When a women asks for a “mask 19”, in the pharmacy, the pharmacist knows to call the police. Nous Toutes, an organisation for and by women, launched a campaign in April 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic to draw attention to the problem.

The Turkish organization We Will Stop Femicide Platform,  reports that 18 women have been murdered, 12 of them in their own homes, since the first infection in Turkey became known. Help is scarce, government agencies are partly down due to the corona virus and the police emergency line is heavily burdened by reports of the virus outbreak. However, the Turkish government has not taken any additional measures to help women who are in an unsafe situation at home.

Every year, an estimated 219,000 women, ages 18 to 75, are diagnosed with physical or sexual violence by current from former partners, but only 20% report it. According to official figures, a woman is murdered every three days by an ex-partner’s partner.

Women in the middle East continue to face widespread instances of gender-based violence. In Iraq the main forms of violence against women and girls included, but were not limited to, physical abuse, killing and so-called honour killing, trafficking, early marriages, and female genital mutilation. One in five women (21%) aged 15- 49 has suffered physical violence at the hands of husbands, 33% have suffered emotional violence, and 83% have been subjected to controlling behaviour by their husbands. Many of the issues related to the violation of women’s rights arise from entrenched cultural traditions and social practices.  Iraqi authorities should investigate and prosecute domestic violence and ensure appropriate sentences for violence against women.

A few years ago there was the dress, did you see blue and gold or It resulted in a storm on social media and headlines in the news about the colour of the dress- is it white and gold or black and blue?  In a couple of hours this photo went viral and people couldn’t stop talking about the optical illusion.  The Salvation Army in South Africa made ​​the most of a strong advertising campaign:

Domestic violence nina-iraq

South African Advertising using ‘the Dress’

Photo credit: Ireland Davenport, South Africa

The Beatles claimed in the sixties that ‘All You Need is Love’.  However, research has shown that in this day and age equality, adaptability and reliability rate more highly in terms of key contributory factors in a sustainable relationship. We seem to live in a romantic culture where love and passion are the key to the perfect relationship.

The hard numbers, however, speak significantly to this regard:  Of all couples who marry, a quarter will be apart before death separates them.

But why does it go wrong so often? Is it because many people either cannot, or are not prepared to, meet the high demands of a good relationship? In our consumer-driven, individualist culture maybe being a ‘couple’ is not the same as it once was.

One thing is for sure, many marriages don’t make it. Typical problems include infidelity, boredom or financial issues. However, unfortunately domestic violence is also becoming increasingly prevalent. Abuse figures span class, cultures, traditions and geographies – and although it is clear that statistics do differ from region to region, key similarities remain. Essentially if unemployment is high, women’s rights (whether cultural or legal) are low and women’s ability to contribute economically is curtailed, there are enough individual tragedies to form an overall picture of societal breakdown. The problem is so recognised that the UN now specifically train their health officers to recognise signs of domestic violence against women more rapidly, enabling them to respond more quickly to victims’ needs, including psychological trauma.

According to an UN report (SOURCE), there is more need for prevention and education. We have to create awareness of the effects of domestic conflict as well as violence, giving victims a voice. However of course, working together within a relationship (if at all possible) to prevent conflict is always preferable to outside intervention. I came across these pointers in terms of what makes a good relationship and thought they’d be of interest here:

1 Self-knowledge

Knowing yourself and knowing what characteristics and qualities you find important in another.

2 People Knowledge

Know what you are looking for in a partner, but also be able to recognize these qualities in the other person.

3 Like-mindedness 

A good relationship occurs when individual and collective goals in life are matched.

4 Equivalence

Equivalence should not be confused with total equality. What matters is that partners distribute their tasks so that both are satisfied and feel useful and appreciated.

5 Empathy

To live comfortably with a partner, it is essential to know how he or she works and feels in different circumstances.

6 Social skills

Good talks, listening and resolving conflicts peacefully.

7 Adaptability

Learn to live with other people’s quirks.

8 Reliability

In a good relationship partners are careful with commitments, only making promises they can keep.

9 Intelligence

Assess and solve efficiently the problems in a relationship. People with strong problem solving skills are certainly better able to circumvent the many cliffs from which relationship can fall.

10 Sexual satisfaction

A sex life that meets the needs of both. Not only in the first few months, but until the end of time.

To conclude: Love is not to be idealized, we need to create awareness amongst women and stimulate empowerment. Especially in these times we need to be alert, encourage victims and perpetrators of violence to take the step to seek help.


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