Mental health problems, economic instability, isolation, and depression are just some of the many problems the world has had to grapple with during the Covid19 lockdowns. Though this pandemic has had quite a significant impact on various aspects of our everyday lives, it, unfortunately, has been a catalyst in the spike of gender-based violence.
Being isolated and quarantined to our homes for an extended period of time has, without a doubt, had a significant impact on our psychological well-being. Unfortunately, throughout history, we’ve undoubtedly seen a rise in gender-based violence without fail in times of crises and pandemics. So what attributes to the alarming increase in incidents of gender-based violence during these lockdowns and monumental events? And how can we address this neglected outcome of our current situation?
Enforcing stay at home orders and lockdowns without a doubt shifts everyone’s day to day lives. Most companies worldwide have adjusted their workforce to work remotely whenever possible to reduce the community spread of disease. While these measurements are crucial for public safety, it, unfortunately, has negative consequences on our psyche. Not being able to go to work, not seeing family, worrying about losing a job, financial insecurities, and just the pure uncertainty and loneliness are unfortunately the harsh reality that most people have found themselves in over the past several months. Such thoughts and feelings can spark serious psychological consequences within households and ultimately lead to harassment or violence.
Though these psychological consequences tend to evoke various types of violence, gender/based violence is where we tend to see the most significant rise. When there are few places to escape to, the exposure to harassment and violence increases tenfold. We often see that due to economic pressure and insecurity, individuals tend to feel a need to cling to their partners for financial stability despite the violence and harassment they might have endured. This dependency is typically acknowledged by the abuser, making them feel almost invincible and just in their actions.
During these times of global crises and lockdowns, there needs to be a further emphasis and awareness for the online services for psychological support. Spreading awareness about the importance of reporting such incidents of abuse is crucial in reducing the number of cases. Through online and telephonic services, emotional resources and tools need to be more prevalent and readily available to victims.
Though social pressure and stigma result in highly underreported incidents amongst gender-based violence, the surge in cases during the pandemic is jarring. If you or someone you know need help, consider reaching out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.