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An UNFPA Study Shows That The Coronavirus Crisis May Lead To Unwanted Pregnancies And More Cases Of FGM. This Is Worrying

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Here’s the thing, no matter what the circumstances are, women are always at a disadvantage. For centuries, women have been considered weaklings and we sure as hell are treated like that. I don’t understand this, it’s like the universe conspires and comes up with new and creative ways to make our lives tougher. Be it the heavy sexism that women face daily or this COVID 19 crisis that has put women in an extremely difficult situation, we just can’t seem to catch a break.

Deny it all you want, but the truth is that women are collateral damage in this pandemic. Think about it, millions of women have been left unemployed, homeless, hungry and vulnerable to sexual assault with little to no chances of escape. Over the last few months, most of the corona-affected countries have reported a surge in gender-based violence. It seems that some men are bored at home and to pass the time they are using their wives as a punching bag (it makes my blood boil just thinking about it). And there are restrictions on movements and the women are finding it extremely problematic to escape leaving them at the mercy of their abusers.

However, the series of unfortunate events for women (thanks to corona) don’t end here. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has reported that if this lockdown remains for about six more months there will be around 7 million unwanted pregnancies due to lack of access to contraceptives.

Also Read: A Minor Girl Was Secretly Forced Into Child Marriage In Haryana During The Lockdown. She Got Rescued But So Many Crimes Against Women Go Unreported.

47 million women in 114 low- and middle-income countries may not be able to get their hands on contraception. Which may lead to a projected 7 million unwanted pregnancies. The extension of this lockdown may also lead to 31 million gender-based crimes like sexual assault and genital mutilation.

The report is based on the research conducted by the UNFPA in collaboration with Avenir Health, Johns Hopkins University (USA) and Victoria University. And it says that this pandemic is expected to considerably slow down efforts that are being made to end female genital mutilation (FGM), resulting in 2 million new cases. Even the delays in programs to end child marriage will cause 13 million more cases between 2020 and 2030.

It reads, “The new assessment foresees two ways the pandemic could contribute to more gender-based violence. The first is through disruptions in programmes to prevent violence and provide services, care and support to survivors. The second is through increased total acts of violence as lockdowns keep women inside with their abusers and as households endure stressors like economic turmoil.”

Further added, “For every three months the lockdown continues, an additional 15 million extra cases of gender-based violence are expected.”

Also Read: This Man From Gujarat Brutally Thrashed His Wife After She Beat Him At Online Ludo. So Much Violence For A Game?

There is so much uncertainty around the pandemic and so much remains unknown to us. This report just shows us the staggering and alarming effect this coronavirus-related lockdown will have for millions of women and girls around the globe. It has become more urgent than ever to ensure all women and girls are aware and know how to exercise their rights.

UN Population Fund Executive Director Dr Natalia Kanem said “This new data shows the catastrophic impact that Covid-19 could soon have on women and girls globally.” She further added, “The pandemic is deepening inequalities, and millions more women and girls now risk losing the ability to plan their families and protect their bodies and their health.”

The thing is, a lot of countries are so overwhelmed with coronavirus cases that they are essentially limiting or shutting down other medical practices. They don’t have the time to provide necessary services like family planning counselling. Also, in some places, women are refraining from going for check-ups since they fear COVID 19 exposure.

Dr Kanem says that women’s reproductive health and rights much be safeguarded at all costs. Especially the women hailing from low-income countries who are further prone to gender-based violence during these tough times.

We have already started seeing a rapid increase in domestic violence cases. Now we stand at the brink of a surge in unsafe pregnancies child marriages, FGM, sexual assault and a whole lot of other heinous gender-based crimes.

This is alarming but at this point, no one seems particularly perturbed by it. Which is also scary. Heck, this entire thing is just worse for women. And just when you thought it couldn’t.

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