attacks aggravated by the health crisis

Published on : 25/11/2020 – 07:40

From Nigeria to Brazil, from France to India, no country has escaped the Covid-19 pandemic. Neither has escaped the explosion in attacks on women, giving this year a special resonance to the International Day for the Elimination of Violence.

Each November 25 marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. In this period of pandemic, we are witnessing an outbreak of this violence all over the world. The health crisis has highlighted the scourge of gender-based and sexual violence everywhere.

According to data from UN Women published at the end of September, confinement increased complaints or calls to authorities for domestic violence by 30% in Cyprus, 33% in Singapore, 30% in France or 25% in Argentina.

Dangerous closed doors

In all countries, forced to take measures to restrict movement to stop the spread of the virus, women and children found themselves behind closed doors. “The house is the most dangerous place for women”, recalled in April some thirty Moroccan associations, asking the authorities “for an emergency response”.

Everywhere, the slow operation of certain institutions, the closures of businesses, places of cultural and sporting activities and schools no longer allow the victims to escape, already weakened by the economic and social insecurity caused by the virus.

“We are witnessing a dangerous deterioration in the socio-economic situation of families following confinement, with more situations of poverty, which can lead to violent reactions,” said Hanaa Edwar, of the Iraqi Women’s Network, who has since asked. 10 years of a law against domestic violence in this country.

In Brazil, 648 feminicides were recorded in the first half of 2020, up 1.9% compared to the same period of 2019, according to the Brazilian Forum of Public Security (FBSP). Claiming to be aware of the problem, the government has launched a campaign to encourage complaints, but for the FBSP the measures to support the victims remain “insufficient”.

Globally, only one in eight countries has put in place measures to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on women and girls, according to UN Women. In Spain, victims were able to report discreetly by giving the code “mask-19” in pharmacies, among the only brands to remain open in many countries.

In France, contact points maintained by associations have also been set up in supermarkets. “The women who came to find us were in situations that were becoming unbearable, dangerous. The confinement had the effect of a leaden screed,” says Sophie Cartron, deputy director of an association which worked in a shopping center near Paris.

Uncertain manifestations

For November 25, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, mobilization remains uncertain due to health restrictions. However, marches for women’s rights have recently taken place in Namibia, Liberia, Costa Rica, Guatemala or Romania.

“We will not be able to demonstrate to express our anger, nor to march to fight together but we will still make our voices heard, virtually and visually,” warned the feminist movement Family Planning in Paris.

“Everywhere you look there are inequalities. Whether it is in terms of employment, pay gaps, gender-based violence. All of this is widening further because of the Covid”, notes Tamara Mathebula of the Commission for gender equality in South Africa.

Ultimately, the consequences of the coronavirus on women’s rights could be very serious. In July, the United Nations warned that six months of health restrictions could lead to 31 million more cases of gender-based violence worldwide, 7 million unwanted pregnancies, and put the fight against female genital mutilation and forced marriage at risk. .

With AFP

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