Getting Data Straight
The Covid-19 pandemic came into our lives like a thunderbolt almost 2 years ago. Scientists are continuing to estimate the consequences of its influence on society considering its wide impact on people’s lives. Unfortunately, an aspect that was greatly influenced by Covid-19 was mental health, which was triggered mainly because of the economic instability, unemployment, isolation, and social restrictions created because of lockdowns. These have all led to an increase in cases of depression, anxiety disorders, and other mental issues which could, in turn, alter someone’s behavior.
In this sense, all the conditions described above can be considered as a factor for the intensification of gender, and especially domestic violence.
Data is very clear when identifying a major increase of domestic violence cases during the pandemic all around the world. According to the UN, the number of women and girls aged from 15 to 49, who experienced sexual and/or physical violence by an intimate partner in the past year was around 243 million.
Many states had national lockdowns that obligated people to stay at home, which meant that for someone who is suffering from violence, it becomes harder to avoid her abusive partner and it also gives the perpetrator an inexhaustible source of control over her. It is also important to consider that because of the pandemic many women lost their jobs, making them even more dependent on their perpetrators.
Reporting & Prevention
It is important to realize that it is extremely hard for victims to come out and report that they are being abused. This can happen because of many reasons such as fear of judgment by society, fear of retaliation by the perpetrator, fear of an uncertain future, and many others.
Due to the lack of reports and consequently data, we cannot estimate the exact number of abuse cases making it even more difficult to provide help and support to those in need.
Therefore, the most important goal of governments and social organizations should be to help prevent domestic violence through education. The second goal should be to show women that help is available. To give them access to shelters, medical help, and organizations providing support to all women, regardless of the presence of the Covid-19. One organization that targets both of these objectives is the Heather Hurley Foundation. Founded by a survivor of domestic violence, they aim to provide support to survivors and also teach children how to prevent violence from a very young age. They help women and girls to identify red flags, explain how a healthy relationship should look like and how to build a real and healthy connection with your partner.
The prevention of domestic violence is a task that we all share. It is crucial therefore that with or without the pandemic, we leave indifference aside and set ourselves to action.