The pandemic makes the home a (more) dangerous place for many women. We took a closer look at whether the restrictions on social contact and curfews affected the extent of recorded attacks in the form of domestic violence.
Violence against women is not an isolated phenomenon. The WHO identifies it as one of the greatest health risks for women worldwide, and according to UNICEF, it is the most common human rights violation. In Germany, one in four women experiences violence by a partner at least once in her life. In an international comparison, domestic violence and genocide occur even much more frequently.
Violence against women during the Covid-19 pandemic
The global pandemic causes us all to take a step back while patiently waiting and hoping that we will be able to return to an orderly life at some point in the future. Pre-existing risk factors for violence against women include alcohol or drug abuse, power embodiment, major social imbalance, jealousy and possessiveness. Covid-19 creates new exceptional situations in many households. This results in additional risk factors that can increase the number of violent acts in some homes. These risk factors include stress, domestic confinement, financial worries due to job loss and overwork due to home office and simultaneous care work in form of child care and household chores.
We are a group of five women. Working on this article, we found it was not an easy topic for us from the outset, and a very emotional one, so we started to talk openly about possible difficulties right at the beginning.
In further discussions, it quickly became clear that it would be difficult to obtain confirmations of figures and statements from our primary source. Unfortunately, we were not able to reach any experts on the subject or obtain validation from the UN for the figures we found.
However, through a contact of the federal association pro familia, we were able to find further figures and articles that also dealt with the increasing violence against women during the pandemic in the German area.
During the course of our research, it became clear that the global patriarchy in which we live makes it impossible to validate all figures for every country. Numbers are systematically concealed and it seems as if it is constantly ensured that victims do not go public about their stories. It is becoming clear that the prevailing power structures allow a high number of unreported cases. As a result of contact restrictions, women can be increasingly controlled by perpetrators during the pandemic. Especially the contact with counseling centers, women’s shelters, doctors and the police are severely limited. The lack of social contacts also makes it easier to keep quiet about what has happened at home. Further research also requires a much more intensive examination than would have been possible at this stage.
For the reasons stated, we have come to the current conclusion that the claim is not checkable this way. However, we are fully aware that the numbers may have increased nevertheless. In addition, not all actual reported numbers registered during the pandemic have been made public yet.
RESEARCH | ARTICLE © Christina Bensien, Alexandra Loewe, Laura Stich, Alena Wedell and Luisa Wolter, Jade University of Applied Sciences Wilhelmshaven, Germany
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