Today is celebrated worldwide as International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Nearly 1 in 3 women have been abused in their lifetime. In times of crises, the numbers rise, as seen during the COVID-19 pandemic and recent humanitarian crises, conflicts and climate disasters.
In a United Nations Women survey titled “Measuring the shadow pandemic: Violence against women during COVID-19”,based on data from 13 countries since the pandemic, 2 in 3 women reported that they or a woman they know experienced some form of violence and are more likely to face food insecurity. Only 1 in 10 women said that victims would go to the police for help.
Albania, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Nigeria, Paraguay, Thailand, and Ukraine were among the 13 nations studied.
Kenyan women were the most vulnerable to violence (80 per cent), followed by Moroccan (69 per cent), Jordanians (49 per cent), and Nigerian (49 per cent). Paraguayans were the least likely to report such incidents, with just 25 per cent reporting them.
According to the report, verbal abuse and denial of basic resources were the most common forms of violence against women since the pandemic began; denial of communication (21 per cent) although these may have been the result of measures taken to limit the spread of the pandemic, such as lockdowns, curfews, and social distancing.”
“Similarly, 16 percent reported sexual harassment and 15 per cent reported physical abuse.”
“Since the pandemic began, one in four women feels less secure at home, and domestic violence has escalated”.
When asked why they felt unsafe at home, women mentioned physical violence, other family members hurting them, or other women in the household being abused.
While pervasive, gender-based violence is not inevitable, it can and must be prevented. Stopping this violence starts with believing survivors, adopting comprehensive and inclusive approaches that tackle the root causes, transform harmful social norms, and empower women and girls. With survivor-centred essential services across policing, justice, health, and social sectors, and sufficient financing for the women’s rights agenda, we can end gender-based violence.
To raise awareness, this year’s theme is “Orange the World: End Violence against Women Now!”. Orange is the color to represent a brighter future free of violence against women and girls.
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