Violence against women ‘phantom pandemic’ spreads to the streets | Best countries

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Public space has historically enabled women to escape certain acts of violence, especially at home. However, the lockdowns and economic downturns countries face during the COVID-19 pandemic are pushing violence beyond home walls, with 4 in 10 women now saying they feel more unsafe in the spaces. audiences than before, according to a recently released United Nations report.

The report, titled “Violence Against Women During COVID-19,” was conducted by UN Women, a United Nations entity working for gender equality. The organization interviewed women in 13 countries: Albania, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Colombia, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Nigeria, Paraguay, Thailand and Ukraine. The study authors said they chose the countries because of their “regional diversity, with priority given to low- and middle-income countries implementing related UN Women programs.”

Conducted in two separate two-month phases, starting first in April and later in August this year, the report assessed 16,154 women’s opinions and experiences or knowledge of violence against women in their communities.

Kathryn Travers, UN specialist on ending violence against women, stresses the need to change the rhetoric and not place responsibility and blame for the recent increase in violence on individual women.

“Culturally, when women report experiences of sexual harassment, the first questions are: where was she? At what time? What was she wearing? Was she alone? All of this places the responsibility for her safety on every woman, when in reality it is broader social issues that need to change. “

What the report called a “phantom pandemic” of violence hit women in more precarious situations, such as the unemployed and students, particularly hard on economic and health disparities, especially among populations of women seen as essential workers. .

For the past two years, much of the world’s population has stayed at home, but for many women – especially essential workers and those in the informal sector – staying indoors was not an option.

“We see these women as essential, but they are even more exposed in different ways as well, because they have to be outside the home,” says Travers. “Well, now there are fewer people who are there to be active spectators (in cases of harassment or violence). “

Although sexual harassment on the streets predated the pandemic, 62% of rural women say it has worsened in the past year, compared to 55% of their urban counterparts. Of the roughly 40% of women surveyed who expressed the most unease in public, 11% said they had not left their homes without a chaperone in the past month, further limiting their participation in public life.

The report expands on previous studies that have sounded the alarm on the increase in domestic violence cases in the we and worldwide during the pandemic. He also intervenes within the framework of the 16 days of the Center for Women’s Global Leadership. campaign against gender-based violence, which is celebrating its 30th year of advocacy, as well as its own Unite, an umbrella campaign with similar objectives.

While these initiatives mark the progress made since the UN first recognized violence against women as an “obstacle to the achievement of equality, development and peace,” Travers says there remains still a lot of work to do during the rest of the pandemic and beyond:

“Women make up less than a quarter of the members of the COVID-19 task force,” she says. Because the consequences of COVID-19 have been so multifaceted, they require a multidimensional approach, which includes elements that examine gender inequalities and violence against women and girls … If women are not up to date table, then their views are not. is going to be reflected in the endpoint, which then brings us back to a cycle of exclusion.


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