#TheLockdown with their abusers - Domestic violence surges
- Domestic abuse rates has increased globally since the decision to curb the pandemic had come to play.
- There have been reports of domestic violence killings in France, Britain, spain and italy.
- The UK national abuse hotline reported a 25% increase in calls.
Developing countries in Africa might be worse, and there is a growing concern that if this situation is not addressed the psychological impact and abuse will be far worse than the aftermath of The COVID19 Lockdown.
Here are few cases in various countries reported by credible News sources, are you affected?
Chennai, India - Under the lockdown, Parvathi's employer asked her to stay home. She was not being paid, and her husband, deprived of his daily drink, was in a foul mood.
The 45-year-old cook in the southern Indian city of Chennai had become accustomed to physical abuse from her unemployed, alcoholic husband in the early years of her marriage.
Half an hour later, she ran out again, this time working up the courage to walk to the police barricade, and asked to be taken to the police station.
"Go home and sort it out," the officer on duty told her from behind a mask. "The police and courts are shut for 21 days.
(Nairobi Kenya) For 4 days, Juliet M., a 16-year-old Kenyan, was held captive by a man and sexually assaulted. She was rescued by neighbors and is now being cared for in a safe house in Nairobi. The attacker reportedly said he kidnapped her because he needed female company to get through the government-imposed COVID-19 lockdown.
(Lagos, Nigeria) Recently, there was an unconfirmed video of a young man harassing and intimidating a supposed wife in the streets of Lagos for sexual gratification. Despite the best efforts of the woman to gain some respite by running out to the streets seeking for urgent intervention from either neighbours or passers-by, she was still disappointed and bundled helplessly inside the house to be continuously raped by her 'husband'.
(United kingdom) Women face increasing domestic violence while forced to stay indoors and Ireland has launched a media campaign to reassure victims that services are still running.
'Horrifying global surge'
Most countries globally are seeing a surge in domestic violence, leading to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealing to governments to pay attention to and prevent a "horrifying global surge in domestic violence" amid lockdown measures.
But in other parts of the world, mechanisms to protect women from being locked in with their abusers have evolved to take into account lockdowns and social distancing.
The French government has promised to open pop-up counselling centres and pay for hotel rooms for domestic violence victims, who have also been encouraged to seek help at pharmacies.
In Italy, the government has launched an app that enables domestic violence victims to seek help without making a phone call.
In India, the response has been one of playing catch-up.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned of a "horrifying global surge" in domestic violence during the coronavirus crisis and urged governments to step up efforts to prevent violence against women.
"We know lockdowns and quarantines are essential to suppressing COVID-19. But they can trap women with abusive partners," Guterres said in a video message posted on Twitter on Sunday. "For many women and girls, the threat looms largest where they should be safest - in their own homes."
Victims of domestic violence, should refuse to suffer in silence and expose offenders
(Ghana) Madam Aba Oppong, a child rights activist, has called for women and children to bold to report to the appropriate authorities any form of abuse they suffer during the period Ghanaians have been asked to shelter in place.
Parting short for the victims
Some studies have shown that violence against women increase during the lockdown period due to an escalation of tensions in the home. The following are recommended for victims of such violence, given that they are "locked down" and cannot easily escape their attackers. They should ensure their phones are charged and there is credit always for emergency calls; have some family and friends’ numbers on speed dial; maintain peace in the face of provocation; have numbers of human rights organizations and security agents saved in codes and on speed dial.
More importantly, victims should not wait till the violence happen before speaking up, seek alternative shelter if necessary; and avoid unhealthy misunderstanding with spouses, family members and neighbours. Women should look out for each other, be your sister’s keeper. Life is sacrosanct; it is important that women speak up and seek help on time.
Have you been a victim of domestic abuse or do you know of anyone who is abused during the Lockdown, we will like to hear from you.