All the major news outlets, from the New York Times to NBC to NPR to the Guardian, even Fox news, are all reporting on the global rise of domestic violence during the COVID-19 crisis.
The United Nations has said it has seen a “horrifying surge” of domestic violence across the world and has strongly urged all nations to make the problem a key issue when considering how to address the pandemic. U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres stated,
“Over the past weeks, as the economic and social pressures and fear have grown, we have seen a horrifying surge in domestic violence…For many women and girls, the threat looms largest where they should be safest — in their own homes..”
Advocates say the surge is likely due to isolation and financial stress. Cities across the United States have seen a spike in reports of domestic violence. According to NBC news,
“Of the 22 law enforcement agencies across the United States that responded to NBC News’ request for data on domestic violence calls, 18 departments said they had seen a rise in March. Houston police received about 300 more domestic violence calls in March than they did in February, a roughly 20 percent increase. Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina, police fielded 517 additional calls about domestic violence in March compared to the same month last year, an 18 percent jump, while Phoenix police received nearly 200 more calls, an increase of nearly 6 percent.”
What is being done about this?
This pandemic is exposing in greater and harsher light the inequalities that have existed between men and women across the globe. It is a wake up call about social structures, wealth disparity, harmful environmental practices and economic strain that have existed all along that need to be fixed. Within each problem we face as a global community, there is a gender breakdown. For example, class struggle is arguably one of the most influential factors in inequality we face as humanity. But even within class struggle, within a home of a family experiencing strain and undue economic hardship, there are gender inequalities in which the woman is usually baring the brunt of it, or in this case, experiencing domestic violence.
However long this pandemic persists, how can we eventually come out of this situation with new eyes and work towards creating the world we all want? How can we as a global community come together to solve the problems we face and work towards systemic change? It is necessary we work towards finding solutions so that all people, and the environment, can heal and build a better future.