August 1, 2021

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Covid-19 may increase the risk of violence against women

5 min read


The epidemic affects the psychology and economy of the family, increasing the bondage, making the situation of violence against women at risk of worsening.

Uncle Van Tam (63 years old, Can Giuoc, Long An) threw away the bowl of rice he was eating because his wife made braised duck meat incorrectly; ran away to the neighbor’s house, sat and smoked. Uncle Eight is inherently patriarchal, often gathering to drink with his comrades every afternoon. During the time of separation, all day he was just hanging around the house, without any friends, he became frustrated.

Ms. Thuy (uncle Tam’s wife) shared that when she was not satisfied with something, she would beat the plate and talk loudly with her wife. Having been used to her husband’s nature for nearly 50 years, she tried to endure. “It’s better to endure a little bit, back and forth, just a big deal won’t change anything; then blame the children, and even the sui family’s ears will be humiliated,” she said.

Affected by Covid-19, Minh Thuong (nearly 45 years old, working as a driver in Tan Binh district, Ho Chi Minh City) had to temporarily stay at home. His two sons are of great age, but all day they love to play games and can’t ask for anything. Seeing his children wandering while the family was in poverty, Thuong angrily scolded his wife for not knowing how to teach children. In anger, the wife said, “If it’s delicious, teach it”. One speaks to another, the husband and wife are noisy all day long, the neighbors and neighbors are all upset.

The case of Uncle Tam and Thuong’s family is not uncommon in the context of Covid-19. According to the Vietnam Women’s Union, Covid-19 affects livelihoods and disrupts the lives of many families. Besides the impact on the economy, the epidemic also revealed many worrying aspects of gender inequality. The burden of housework, child care, difficulty in accessing health services increases with the distance, the risk of violence, mental health problems… have emerged in recent times. Women experiencing violence increased by 30-300% in the context of the epidemic.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that about 30% of women worldwide have experienced physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime. Violence negatively affects physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health and can increase the risk of HIV infection.

In a report released by WHO in March 2021, travel restrictions in the context of Covid-19 and the social and economic impacts of the epidemic increase women’s exposure to their boyfriends and partners. or others, restricting their access to feminist organizations. Covid-19 could exacerbate existing violence, leading to new forms of violence against women.

“Violence against women is a widespread problem across countries and cultures, harms millions of women and their families and is exacerbated by the pandemic,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

Violence affects the spirit, makes women anxious and tired. Image: Unsplash.

According to WHO, many people have to suspend their work, become unemployed due to the epidemic, and spend more time with husband and wife and children together. The story of rice and money in difficult times is one of the reasons why the life of some families “is not healthy, the soup is not sweet”. Secrets caused by the epidemic can affect psychology in a negative way. Schools are closed, the burden of taking care of the family falls on the shoulders of the wife and mother, making them more stressed. Women have less contact with family and friends, reduced access to support services and protection from violence during the pandemic.

When Covid-19 first broke out, countries also recorded an increase in violence. In the UK, in March-June 2020, London police received 41,000 calls to address domestic abuse – an increase of 12% compared to the same period in 2019.

According to police in Hubei province (China), the number of reported domestic violence cases tripled in February 2020 over the same period, from 47 to 162 cases. Statistics of a charity campaign against domestic violence in China, 90% of the causes of violence during this period are related to Covid-19. According to radio station Globo (Brazil), a love center receiving reports of domestic violence in Covid-19 isolation wards showed an increase of 40% or 50% of cases.

How to help women avoid the risk of violence

In a statement in March 2021 in Switzerland, WHO Director-General – Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus shared, unlike Covid-19, it is not possible to prevent violence against women with vaccines. Deep and sustained efforts by governments, communities and individuals help change negative attitudes, improve access to services for women and girls, promote healthy relationships and mutual respect.

WHO recommends that countries need to have activities and policies to support women to prevent violence during the epidemic. Medical, feminist and humanitarian establishments provide women with information to contact such as hotlines, psychological counseling, shelter… when experiencing instability. Listening with empathy, without judgment, collecting data on cases of violence is one of the essentials.

People should be aware of the increased risk of violence against women during the epidemic and be ready to help them. Victims of this condition should contact family and friends and seek support from the authorities. Keep necessary information, hotline of the organization to protect women in case of need.

Some ways to help women reduce stress during social distancing according to WHO guidelines include trying to maintain daily routines, making time for physical activity, relaxation, sleep, and self-care. Relaxation exercises such as meditation, yoga… help reduce anxiety and negative emotions. Women share and confide more with family and friends through online forms to feel more positive.

Women should pay attention to their diet and nutritional supplements to enhance their health and mental comfort during the pandemic.  Photo: Shutterstock.

Women should pay attention to their diet and nutritional supplements to improve their health and mental well-being during the pandemic. Image: Shutterstock.

If there is instability in one’s love, marriage, relationships… anyone can contact the podcast “Spiritual Violence” on VnExpress to be heard and advised. Podcast is a place for women to express, feel more calm, receive sympathy and share.

The program is accompanied by the Vietnam Women’s Union and the brand Enat. In the beauty care journey of thousands of Vietnamese women, Enat hopes to help them improve their self-worth, be loved and be happy.

The character name was changed

Ngoc An

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