Domestic Violence: The “Shadow Pandemic”

By Helena Barros

The current COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly had a global impact on countless areas of our society, such as health, economy, education, behavior, security, and others. One of these outcomes of the Coronavirus was entitled by the United Nations as the ‘shadow pandemic’: domestic abuse. 

Illustration from The Brazilian Report regarding domestic abuse

Above: Illustration from The Brazilian Report regarding domestic abuse.

The Concern

It is estimated that up to 70% of women are affected on a worldwide scale by the ‘pandemic’ in question in the span of their lifetimes. On the grounds of this, the virus’ outbreak striking the world in 2020 and demanding billions to be locked down with their families was untold women’s worst nightmare, for in order to avoid the pandemic’s contamination, they would have to face another one at home. As of June, within approximately 2 to 3 months of quarantine, domestic violence had a global increase of 20% on the report of United Nations Women. 

Naturally, this is not an issue surged in the modern day, as it has been perpetuated in our society for centuries. However, the lawful attempt of protecting the victim is indeed current, taking in consideration that the law officially punishing domestic abusers was only effectuated in 1994 (United States) and 2006 (Brazil) and has still not been duly effective. The RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network) has stated that less than 0.5 percent of people who commit sexual assault are convicted of their crime. 

The ineffectiveness of the system causes large demotivation for women to seek justice, allowing millions of predators to walk free of charge. In general, 60 percent of victims remain silent about the abuse, rising to 77 percent in cases from the United States. The RAINN claims that the number one reason for the unreported instances was fear of retaliation, as the probability of failed conviction is nearly 90%, raising the chances of the recurrency of the event or worse attempts of revenge. 

Although the number of reported cases increased with the disease’s circumstances, intercession from the police and arbitration from the judicial system has been proven even less successful during this required period. Furthermore, the increase of abuse at home has not undermined that of the public areas, and especially through digital platforms. 

Aftermath

The repercussions of this monstrous affair to survivors may include several types of physical, emotional, and psychological damage. Sexually transmitted infections, undesired pregnancy, dissociation, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and depression are among the most recurrent. Externally, events of such may bring even more outraging impacts to the victim’s relations, for they are often judged and doubted by surrounders of assorted proximity. 

Even with a generally reduced chance of accusation, the imposed social distancing has caused health services, social services, helplines, and judicial treatment to restrain support to the victims.

EAB’s Response

Before an issue of such, our school will not be silenced. The National Honors Society chapter at EAB has an upcoming project containing a drive for the women’s shelter meant to prevent the prolongation of the ‘shadow pandemic’ among our society. Soon, further information will be shared with the community elucidating the contributions you can make to survivors of domestic abuse.

Works Cited

“The Criminal Justice System: Statistics.” RAINN, http://www.rainn.org/statistics/criminal-justice-system.

“The Shadow Pandemic: Violence against women during COVID-19.” UN Women, http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/in-focus/in-focus-gender-equality-in-covid-19-response/violence-against-women-during-covid-19. 

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