A couple of days ago, I wrote about the factors that can facilitate the spread of the coronavirus in Africa and I got lots of positive personal comments including a delightful discussion on the topic. So, I think I’ll write a couple of more blogs about social ills in society.
Today, we’ll discuss a very sensitive topic – Gender violence with domestic violence as a case study. I call it ‘the silent topic’. Silent because people either hate or are scared of talking about it. So I want to hereby try and build a forum where people can give their voices and increase the speech-volume of the topic.
To ensure we’re all on the same page, domestic violence is the physical, sexual, verbal and psychological abuse of spouses, children, maids and the elderly at home.
Why’s this topic coming up now that we’re supposed to be invested in battling the coronavirus pandemic?
Usually, the norm was, parent(s) return from work, exhausted. There are little time and energy to spend quality time with the family. But now, because of the coronavirus, families are suddenly squeezed in a confined space.
About half the world’s population is under lockdown and in other places, there are curfews and restrictions of movement. People work from home now, and this is supposed to be an amazing opportunity for families to spend more time together – I mean creative and encouraging joint activities, having conversations, reading and the likes.
However, there will be misunderstandings and altercations, kids will also misbehave, tempers will flare and some people might become beastly and use their fists. What’s worse is that, there are no escape routes. The UK has already reported a 25% increase in domestic abuse calls since the enforcement of the lockdown rules.
Let’s Talk Numbers
To ascertain the severity of this societal problem, let’s take a look at some previous data.
In 2017, 50,000 femicides were linked to domestic violence with Africa taking up a large chunk. That year, 1,527 women were killed in America: almost 70% of the total homicide. And Brazil accounts for around 40% of the homicides in Central and Latin America.
In Germany, 122 women were killed by their partners or ex-partners in 2018 with 114,000 women being victims of domestic violence.
In Africa, many acid baths have been reported. In Nigeria, there are cases where men beat up their wives for not cooking and when the woman reports the case to the police, the women get blamed for not carrying out her matrimonial duties and then the case is swept under the carpet.
That’s not all…
Around 2,700 women and 1,000 children were killed in South Africa in 2018 and at least 100 rapes were reported daily and in Nigeria, every fourth woman has been a victim of domestic violence according to this study.
In all these, some of the biggest victims are the smallest: the children. While many countries lack efficient data, 275 million children are exposed to domestic violence, the UN reports.
Some of these kids are severely tortured by their (step)-parents or guardians like in the Turpin case where 13 children were locked up and tortured for years by their parents. Some of them have to live with the horror of watching or hearing a parent being beaten up. Some result to finding solace in drugs and alcohol and some grow up to exert dominance on their partners thereby continuing the cycle of domestic violence.
And in a 30-country study, at least 200 million women and girls aged 15 – 49 have undergone female genital mutilation according to UN Women, and about 15 million teen girls aged 15 – 19 have experienced forced sex globally.
It may also interest you to know that male domestic violence is on the increase and everyone needs protection. However, that’s not a discussion for today.
I could go on and on but most of you know what’s going on in the society.
As the world battles the coronavirus crisis, global economic downturn and recession, and people are being buried in their thousands daily, we wouldn’t want to lose more lives or have people become traumatised due to homicides and domestic abuses.
What policies can be employed to alleviate or eradicate this ‘man-made’ disaster?
Please, I’ll like to get your thoughts and suggestions in the comment section. And don’t forget to share this topic as lots of people need to read this.
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