Pandemic Fuels Domestic Violence
by Glemir Sordilla
In a serene night, most people are enjoying their cozy sleep, not in our neighborhood though. Most of the time, all that can be heard are glasses shattering followed by shouts and incoherent wails. It took a lot of convincing from us so the wife will finally report her abusive husband to the authorities. The reality of this is happening globally. How many more women and children are feeling uncomfortable and unsafe in their own homes in the middle of a pandemic where the most effective way of being safe from the virus is staying in our houses.
It’s more unnerving seeing the numbers of victims rather than just imagining it. According to United Nations (UN), cases relating to domestic violence increased up to 30% since the beginning of the lockdowns around the world. Another data by the Women and Children Protection Center of Philippine Police, at every 10 minutes there is a report of abuse. Their abusers staying with them 24/7 due to stay at home orders can render the victims helpless and engraving a fear of reporting their abusers. This a challenge for the government to step up and be more vigilant in protecting women and children from abuse and exploitation.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had already this saying, “For many women and girls, the threat looms largest where they should be safest. We know lockdowns and quarantines are essential to suppressing COVID-19. But they can trap women with abusive partners.” Confinement under stay-at- home orders is a surge for violent behavior behind closed doors as it creates tension and pent up frustrations about security, health, and money, says UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. All governments are urged to make prevention and redress violence against women a key part of their national response plans.
It will not be surprising if the domestic abuse cases will continue to rapidly soar to more alarming rates because mandatory lockdowns are still being implemented but what would be more shocking if even all these numbers of victims the government will still not step up and just be silent about the issue. Looking at the actions the Philippine government has already taken, we can say all of it are inefficient and ineffective because the COVID-19 cases are not dropping nor showing signs of slowing down its numbers. Let’s just hope domestic violence is something they will prioritize during this dreadful times.