STOP Violence against Women worldwide.
243 million women and girls were abused by an intimate partner in the past years 2020-2021, according to the United Nations. Violence against women statistics was already painting a dark picture compared with previous years, and the virus has now severely aggravated the situation.
The already staggering numbers are not to be taken at face value, as a large proportion of cases go unreported. The frequent impunity of perpetrators, stigma towards the victims, and self-inflicted and societal shame lead many women and girls to silence. Abuse, traditionally represented as merely physical, manifests itself in many forms: battery, psychological abuse, marital rape, femicide, rape, forced sexual acts, unwanted sexual advances, child sexual abuse, forced marriage, street harassment, stalking, cyber-harassment, human trafficking (slavery and sexual exploitation), female genital mutilation, child marriage and more…
As countries went into lockdown to stop the spread of the virus, violence against women intensified, especially domestic violence, and the challenges of reporting it grew. Some countries saw calls for help rise significantly, with phone calls to helplines increasing five-fold. Yet, the number of regular reports fell in others, as access to support via channels became more limited. In a perverse cycle, a lot of women found themselves more isolated as the risk of violence in intimate relationships increased, frequently only in contact with their own abusers for long periods of time, unable to ask for help.
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