Comments, Globe, In Focus, Latin America

Avoiding violence during quarantine

In this global health emergency, vulnerable women, girls and adolescents are caught at the crossroads of isolating to safeguard their health and the danger of being confined with their attacker in this challenging context.

 

Dailyn Ruano Martínez

 

In recent days, UN Women (the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women) has warned of the risks faced by women as a result of increasing tensions in the home.

“Survivors of violence may face additional obstacles to flee violent situations or access life-saving protection orders and essential services due to factors such as movement restrictions or quarantine,” stressed UN Women, as quoted by media outlets. Special protection mechanisms for women at risk of violence – exacerbated by quarantine – are being enforced in countries like Venezuela, where cultural factors prevail, despite efforts from the government to liberate women’s role in the different spheres of society.

The fact is, for those women around the world who are victims of this scourge, the risks of suffering gender-based violence increase as social isolation measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic are implemented.

Health authorities agree – isolation is the most effective way of reducing the number of infections cause by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2; although, in this scenario, various feminist experts warn of the latent dangers for women whose own home is not a safe place.

The social isolation and mass lockdown imposed in Venezuela to break the chain of transmission, together with the consequences of the coercive measures imposed by the United States, is putting more tension on the domestic economy in some sectors, which sets the alarm bells ringing for the protection of potential abuse victims.

Here, feminist organisations reinforce the messages of support for victims of the global increase in cases of gender-based violence, as various countries report the phenomenon as one of the consequences of isolation to prevent COVID-19.

The National Institute for Women is sharing – via various digital channels, social media and television – advice on establishing daily routines to share household chores and reporting any physical or verbal abuse, or sexual harassment or abuse, during the lockdown.

It also suggests that women are accompanied by a neighbour or other trusted person to get food, medicines or essential items; that they avoid going out to isolated places; and that they keep in touch with trusted individuals.

The organisations @Entintavioleta and @Entrompefalopio, who advocate for cultural discourse against forms of gender oppression, are sharing on Twitter images created by the Ministry for Women and Gender Equality to assist victims to call the emergency services on 911.

Through the hashtags #NoestasSola [#YouAreNotAlone], #CuarentenaNoEsSilencio [#QuarantineIsNotSilence] and #CuarentenaFeminista [#FeministQuarantine], these organisations state that “thousands of us are sharing spaces with our aggressors”, while warning “if you are at risk because of domestic violence you can seek help. You are not alone!”

The reasons given for this alert in these times of COVID-19 are stereotypical machismo, traditional gender roles and aggressive behaviour towards women.

The Foundation for the Prevention of Domestic Violence against Women (Fundamujer), states that there are no reliable population statistics, as this is one of the least reported social crimes. (PL)

(Translated by Rebecca Ndhlovu – Email: rebeccandhlovu@hotmail.co.uk)Photos: Pixabay

Share it / Compartir:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

*

*