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Domestic violence during Coronavirus times

The concept of quarantine is difficult for all of us; some have to deal with solitude, some face financial problems, some have to work from home and take care of kids, and so on. But for these people, it is safe to stay home, and they know that no matter what difficulties they face, they are going to stay alive.

However, there is a different category that has to choose between risking their lives by getting infected by the Coronavirus, or by staying home!
victims of gender-based violence cases look for a way out as cities all around the world are on lockdown. For people who experience domestic violence, mandatory lockdowns have been their worst nightmares because they have been trapped in their homes with their abusers, isolated from the people and authorities that could help them.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline reports that there has been an increase in the number of callers saying that their abusers are using this Virus as a means of further isolating them from their friends and family. Katie Ray-Jones, the CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline tells TIME. “Perpetrators are threatening to throw their victims out on the street so they get sick. we’ve heard of some withholding financial resources or medical assistance.”

At the same time, some adult websites for pornography, have made their services free to show that they are with people! I am not going to open the discussion about how pornography industry itself is violating women’s integrity and promoting violence against them, but it is worthy of mentioning that giving free access during this period, however, it is only a marketing strategy for them, it may affect moral decomposition and might be a trigger for aggressive behavior in families where violence is present.

Anita Bhatia, the Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Women tells TIME that “the very technique  we are using to protect people from the virus can perversely impact victims of domestic violence.” She added that “while we absolutely support the need to follow these measures of social distancing and isolation, we also recognize that it provides an opportunity for abusers to unleash more violence.”

Wan Fei, the founder of an anti-domestic violence NGO has told Sixth Tone “According to our statistics, 90% of the causes of violence are related to the COVID-19 epidemic.” He added: “While everyone’s attention is on the epidemic, victims of domestic violence are very much being neglected.”

However, this situation has made victims more vulnerable, there is still hope in some places. According to BBC News, Priti Patel, a British politician, has mentioned the problem of the increasing number of domestic violence: “Whilst our advice is to stay at home, anyone who is at risk of or experiencing, domestic abuse, is still able to leave and seek refuge. Refuges remain open, and the police will provide support to all individuals who are being abused – whether physically, emotionally, or otherwise,

In Italy, according to Mara Bevilaqua, an activist for the Casa Lucha y Siesta shelter in Rome, all shelters are open and they are looking out for women. “We’re all ensuring that channels of communication are kept open,” she said. “Our mobile phone is active all the time and women can also contact us by email and Facebook.”
At the same time, the calls to helplines have dropped sharply and they are receiving desperate text messages and emails.
Lella Palladino, an activist in EVA Cooperativa, a group for the prevention of violence against women, expects to see an explosive increase in the number of domestic violence reports after the lockdown. But, the authorities have not shown any support and the measures are still strict for everyone.
The situation is similar in many other countries and authorities have hardly mentioned this problem. The world is so caught up by the emergency situation caused by this virus that it seems to have forgotten that 1 in 3 women experience physical or psychological violence from their partners, and 3 women die because of gender violence each day. it is worthy of mentioning that men too suffer from this. My question is what are the measures that the governments are going to take for victims of domestic violence in this period? Are there going to be enough fundings put aside for safe houses? Do politicians consider this situation another emergency?

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