During These Tough Times, Women Are Stuck In Homes With Their Abusers. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres Has A Message Regarding This
You know, if at this exact moment, the entire world was asked to make a wish we all would wish for the same thing- for coronavirus to just leave humanity alone. It is no secret that this virus is one of the biggest, life-threatening problems we have faced in a long time and it doesn’t help that we know very little about this virus. But that doesn’t mean that we forgo this war and let this virus win. Nope, we will fight and eventually, we will win because if it’s anything we are known for, it’s rigidity and perseverance.
However, I am sure (or I hope) you have understood by now that one of the essential and non-negotiable steps in this fight is a complete and indefinite lockdown. The only things that are open and functioning at this moment are pharmacies and grocery stores. Now, I know for us this time all about staying indoors to stay safe, but for some women, this is their worst nightmare coming true.
I am talking about women who are subjected to domestic violence. This lockdown has essentially left them with no escape and to their abuser’s mercy and that is truly scary. Women’s rights activists from around the world have been reporting a sudden hike in the number of domestic violence cases ever since has we’ve practically shut down.
Also Read: Domestic Abuse Cases Increase In India As Women Are Being Beaten Up By Their Frustrated Husbands In This Lockdown. Women Are Not Punching Bags, This Has To Stop.
Peace is not just the absence of war. Many women under lockdown for #COVID19 face violence where they should be safest: in their own homes.
Today I appeal for peace in homes around the world.
I urge all governments to put women’s safety first as they respond to the pandemic. pic.twitter.com/PjDUTrMb9v
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) April 6, 2020
Having said that, on Sunday United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres called upon all the governments to look into “a horrifying global surge in domestic violence”. He posted a video message on Twitter to point out that with these restrictions on movement, women everywhere are more at risk and have been put in a rather vulnerable situation since they are now perpetually trapped with their abusers.
In the video message, Antonio Guterres said “I recently called for an immediate global ceasefire to focus on our shared struggle to overcome the pandemic. I appealed for an end to everywhere, now. But violence Is not confined to the battlefield. For many women and girls, the threat looms largest where they should be safest – in their own homes. And so, I make a new appeal today for peace at home – and in homes – around the world.”
He further added “Lockdown and quarantine are essential to suppress COVID-19, but they can trap women with abusive partners. Over the last week, as economic pressures have grown, we have seen a horrifying surge in domestic violence. In some countries, the number of women calling support services have doubled. I urge all governments to make the prevention and redress of violence against women a key part of their national response plans for COVID-19.”
Guterres went to make a few suggestions, describing different “ways to deal” with this unfortunate situation. He urged that all governments around the world, listen and follow these recommendations. He began by saying that it was necessary to create safer ways for women to seek help without tipping off their abusers and he stressed on creating more online services and organizations to help women in need.
Also Read: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres Says Women’s Rights Are Dire And We Need More Men Like Him To Acknowledge Their Privilege
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said the coronavirus lockdowns are essential but warned they could “trap women with abusive partners” pic.twitter.com/1PMH47Kotl
— TRT World (@trtworld) April 6, 2020
The UN chief also added that pharmacies and groceries should be set up with emergency warning systems and that women’s shelters should be declared an essential service so they can protect domestic abuse victims.
However, he said that the people on the frontline of this war against coronavirus- the healthcare officials and police authorities were overwhelmed and understaffed and the “local support groups are either paralysed or short on funds”. Guterres also added that domestic violence shelters are either closed or full.
He then goes on to urge all governments to take the necessary steps and “make the prevention and redress of violence against women a key part of their national response plans for COVID 19.”
Just last week, the National Commission for Women reported an increase in domestic violence cases in India during this lockdown. It is becoming more and more clear that women today are fighting two wars- one against the pandemic and one for their rights and against gender-based violence.
I realise that the women’s rights movement that is aiming at ending violence against women has always been a priority. But with the coronavirus outbreak, it has taken a backseat which has left women helpless and vulnerable. Now, I also know that there is no alternative to the lockdown but maybe we can make the lives of women easier if we listen to what Antonio Guterres is saying and follow his suggestions.
Amid this horrible environment, I am so glad someone (in power) is looking out for women.