Gender-based violence (GBV) is the violence perpetrated specifically against a man or a woman because of his or her sex. The relation between men and women is mostly characterized by a dominant power of men, where women are vulnerable and victims. GBV is one of the most increasing human rights violations around the world. And, violence against women is the most perpetrated form of GBV worldwide. The Convention of Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), a very well known legal instrument, defines GBV as violence that is directed against a woman because she is a woman or that affects women disproportionately.
It can manifests in various ways: physical, sexual, psychological, or economical and does not select people because of their age, race, culture, wealth, or geographical position. 1 in 3 women and girls experience violence in their lifetime. 7 in 1O assaults against women are perpetrated by an intimate partner. 1 in 30 murder victims are killed by their husband or boyfriend. The first sexual experience of some 30 percent of women was forced. And, the percentage is even higher among those who were under 15 at the time, with up to 45 percent reporting that the experience was nonconsensual.
Every woman has the right to live her life safely and free of violence. A life without violence is essential to women’s health, to everyone’s well-being.
With more than 90 countries in lockdown, four billion people are now shielding at home from the spread of the COVID-19. It is surely an effective measure but it brings another fatal danger. The United Nations Women section saw a shadow pandemic growing of violence against women. Confinement is developing the tension and worry created by security, health, and financial worries. And it is increasing isolation for women with violent partners, separating them from the people and resources that can best help them.
India. Domestic violence cases have doubled since the lockdown. And, the National Commission for Women chief stated that cases of domestic violence are high in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, and Punjab. The main reason is that the men are at home and they are taking out their frustration on women and they refuse to participate in domestic work. Women are also confined within the four walls of the house and they cannot share their grief with anybody. The total complaints from women rose from 116 in the first week of March to 257 in the final week. In New Delhi, the Childline Indian helpline received more than 92,000 SOS calls asking for protection from abuse and violence in 11 days, a dark indication that the lockdown has turned into extended captivity not just for many women but also for children trapped with abusers at home.
South Africa. In Johannesburg, the Police Minister said that police have received more than 87,000 GBV complaints during the first week of the 21-day national lockdown. One of these cases included one in which a police officer was arrested for allegedly raping his wife. In Cape Town, the National Gender-based Violence Command Center has received triple the amount of calls during the national lockdown at the beginning of April. This massive flow in requests for help is also affecting the social workers who are operating at the Command Center. Therefore, 1st for Women Insurance, an insurance provider has donated headsets, hand sanitizers, masks, gloves, and trauma debriefing services to all social workers and supervisors at the GBV Command Center to reduce secondary traumatic stress and burnout.
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women, said that “Helplines, psychological support, and online counseling should be boosted, using technology-based solutions such as SMS, online tools and networks to expand social support and to reach women with no access to phones and internet. Police and justice services must mobilize to ensure that incidents of violence against women and girls are given high priority with no impunity for perpetrators”.
This global pandemic of Coronavirus is not only affecting our countries’ economic situation but also our social well-being. We just have to live accordingly and behave correctly.