Shadow Pandemic: Women Trapped Between Battling a Global Pandemic and Domestic Violence-Sally Alghazali

Sherock Podcast Series-Episode 2 Women on Career breaks
December 1, 2020
December 9, 2020

Hello Botlhale Hub Afrika Community

Let’s celebrate women-led organisations that foster women empowerment and sharing stories.

Lets us read from Sally a blogger and Law student.

Sally Alghazali

Sally was born in Baghdad, Iraq and went to the United States seven years ago after escaping war and its aftermath in Iraq. She currently a 2nd year law student in Washington DC working towards a Juris Doctorate degree with a concentration in International Law. She is the co-president of the Immigration Law Society and a candidate Member of the International Law journal at her school.

Sally is a blogger at Power of World Women a women-led project that fosters women empowerment, educates, inspires, and amplifies the voices of women unknown outside their communities.

While all of us have been affected significantly by this pandemic, most women and girls around the globe has been battling a different hidden pandemic simultaneously, a shadow pandemic of increased domestic violence.  

There is no doubt that domestic violence is an alarming problem worldwide and has been as such for years. However, with a global lockdown in almost all countries and cities, the rates of domestic violence cases has been significantly increasing.

In Argentina, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, United States, Kenya, and more countries, government authorities as well as women’s rights activities and civil societies have been reporting increasing and alarming cases of domestic violence during the pandemic and increased demand for emergency shelters.

In Iraq and Jordan, cases of domestic violence significantly surged with more reported “honor” killings resulting than ever. In Singapore and Cyprus, helplines reported increased numbers of calls by more than thirty percent. Numbers in Australia were even higher in which forty percent of frontline workers “reported increased requests for help with violence that was escalating in intensity.”

Isolating with their abusers, women are left facing threats, fear, uncertainty, and even death.

While COVID changed everything arounds us so rapidly, it exacerbated violence behind closed doors alarmingly. Before the pandemic, domestic violence was already one of the most significant human rights violations worldwide. But, as the pandemic persisted, around “243 million women and girls (aged 15-49) across the world have been subjected to sexual and/or physical violence by an intimate partner.” Although these numbers are concerning and requires immediate attention, we must be concerned about the numbers that are not being reported and women who are facing lockdown with no resources available to seek help. A wide under-reporting of domestic violence cases remain in the shadow since “less than 40% of women who experience violence seek[] help of any sort or report[] the crime.”

As the pandemic continues, we are more likely going to witness surges in those rates. Thus, POWW will dedicate this month to highlight those numbers, the stories behind closed doors, the shortfalls in government actions worldwide to address these numbers, and the strength and perseverance those women and girls hold daily when battling violence and a virus.

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