The coronavirus pandemic has made women feel more vulnerable to abuse, sexual harassment and violence, which in turn harms their mental health and emotional well-being, according to a report by UN Women, the UN organization dedicated to gender equality.
Forty-five percent of women surveyed in 13 countries reported that they, or a woman they knew, had experienced some form of violence since the start of the pandemic, and women who said this were 1.3 times more likely than others surveyed to report about stronger mental health. and emotional stress.
Polls have identified violence against women as physical violence; verbal abuse; denial of basic needs such as health care, food and shelter; refusal to communicate with other people, including being forced to stay alone for a long time; and sexual harassment.
The countries surveyed were Albania, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Colombia, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Nigeria, Paraguay, Thailand and Ukraine. UN-Women stated that countries were selected based on regional diversity, with priority given to low- and middle-income countries implementing the organization’s programs.
The report was released on the eve of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which falls on Thursday and kicks off the annual 16-day campaign against gender-based violence.
Among the findings of the report:
Four out of 10 women said they felt more unsafe in public.
One in four said that conflicts in the family have become more frequent, and the same proportion consider themselves more insecure in their home.
Seven out of 10 said they felt verbal or physical violence by a partner has become more common.
Six out of 10 said they believed sexual harassment in public places had increased.
Three out of 10 said they believed violence against women had increased in their community.
“The Covid-19 pandemic, which required isolation and social distancing, has led to a second, shadowy pandemic of violence against women and girls, where they often find themselves isolated with their abusers,” said Sima Bacchus, Executive Director of UN Women. and the former ambassador of Jordan. “Our new data underscores the urgency of a concerted effort to end this.”