A ‘shadow pandemic’ along with covid-19

When Rayanna Bryan called the police for help, afraid that her husband would continue beating her, they told her they couldn’t help. They said her situation was “trivial.”

Bryan is just one of the thousands of women in the UK and around the world who have suffered from worse domestic abuse because of the lockdowns to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

A woman stayed home during the lockdown and experienced domestic violence. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

“My husband grabbed my phone, and at last when I found a chance to call the police to ask for help, they told me that I just make a fuss about such a small squabble and they have no extra energy to deal with trivial matters in coronavirus lockdown. I felt helpless and disappointed, and also I’m losing confidence in the government that no one can save me”, said Rayann Bryan, a British woman experiencing domestic violence several times in the first half of this year.

Violence against women is a major public health problem and a violation of women’s human rights. Plus, children may suffer a range of behavioural and emotional disturbances, such as stuttering and low self-esteem because of violence among parents.

Around the world, the chances of women being exposed to domestic abuse has dramatically gone up, as most authorities have imposed restricted movement and isolated measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Family members spend more time together and is causing more family stress. Families also worry about potential economic recession or job losses. Due to the lockdown, women may lose touch with relatives and friends who could provide support and protection from violence.

While another person has a more positive attitude. Kathya Michelle, a young girl working in a UK social enterprise called Chayn helping women experiencing abuse to find information and support, she says “our helplines have received much more calls and messages from women seeking help during the pandemic.” She considered as violence in family has gotten more exposure, governments will take more notice of new rules and laws to protect domestic abuse survivors.

The authorities should have implemented more laws and regulations to protect women and children from domestic abuse, but they had no tangible plans. To eliminate domestic abuse, it needs joint efforts of the whole society, like updating health care facilities, providing free mental and legal aid as well as more strict conviction.

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