With the Covid19 lockdown in effect, people across the globe have found their lives upended. And this is especially true for women and girls, who have found that their lives are being affected most of all.
This pandemic has hit those among us who are the most vulnerable: domestic workers, health workers, daily wagers. And many, many of those are women.
Women who will be losing jobs and incomes in large numbers.
Women who are juggling jobs and increased household work as the care of the entire family falls on their shoulders.
Women who have to take care of homes and jobs and children without so much as an expectation of getting help.
The Silent Pandemic: Domestic Violence
If that sounds bad, it doesn’t end there.
Under all of this, there has been one serious blindspot: the increasing reports of domestic violence cases in households.
In March 2020, the National Commission For Women stated that domestic violence reports have more than doubled ever since the lockdown began.
And this when even before the Covid19 pandemic, domestic violence was a serious concern in India. In fact:
“1 in 3 women in India suffer sexual and physical violence at home.”
(Source: National Family Health Survey-4 , 2015-16)
So imagine this: A situation where there are already women living in abusive households and who now, in the lockdown, are being forced to live twenty-four hours in a day under the same roofs as their abusers.
That is exactly what is happening right now.
And not all women can report. There are unheard voices out there, women who are trapped and unable to report what is happening to them.
This is violence.
Breakthrough’s Work On Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is not a problem that will vanish once this pandemic goes away. It’s a symptom of a larger problem which this crisis has just worsened.
We know this, because we’ve been working on this for over a decade.
In 2008, Breakthrough launched ‘Bell Bajao’ – a campaign asking men and boys to take a stand against domestic violence.
And to date, we have trained as many as 100,000 people on gender, sexuality and human rights issues and over a million men have signed the pledge against domestic violence.
So trust us when we say this: We can’t do this without you.
We Need Your Help
Today, Breakthrough continues to work on domestic violence even in the middle of the lockdown. We are
- Sharing and highlighting helpline numbers for intimate violence/domestic violence survivors
- Highlighting ways that community members can act as responsible bystanders towards domestic violence in the middle of a lockdown
- Coordinating and collectivising with organisations that work on domestic violence in order to assess the situation and collate demands to present to the government to strengthen the state response towards domestic violence
- Hosting critical talks and town-halls to understand and find a solution to the rise of such cases and what can be done in the future
And In the future, you will be helping us ensure that we change this culture of violence. That we change the mindset where just because something is going wrong, doesn’t mean you can take it out on the woman closest to you.
If you believe that together we can build a safer world for women and girls,