Reports of escalating violence against women and children made the news almost everyday in March and April following the announcement of lockdowns to control the spread of Covid-19. The main concern has been that victims cannot escape their abusers or seek help when they share a confined space and are under constant scrutiny and the threat of violence.
Global upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has left society’s most vulnerable exposed. Instances of child sexual exploitation material (CSEM) found online have increased at an alarming rate over past months.
In late 2019, we learned of the harrowing plight of Suma Akter, a Bangladeshi woman in Saudi Arabia who secretly recorded and shared on social media her story of abuse and exploitation abroad. In Saudi Arabia, Akter said, her employer beat her and at one point poured hot oil on her hand. Later on, when she fell ill, Akter said her employer sold her to another person for 22,000 riyals (almost Tk 5 lakh).
In Malawi, Mary* was only 14 years old when she was recruited and trafficked to the city of Blantyre and sold for sex in a bar. A man had arrived in her village looking for girls to work as domestic helpers for families.
The life of sex workers on the streets, hard as it is during normal times, has taken a worse turn after the coronavirus pandemic hit the country.
While the coronavirus does not discriminate, its impact does. And the needs of survivors of sexual violence in conflict "cannot be put on pause, and neither can the response” during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Maliha Masud (25), was promised an affluent life and opportunities for higher education. A bright student studying Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, she wanted to complete her studies and become someone her parents would be proud of. She was promised an opportunity to get her Master’s degree from a good university in the United States but, two years later, was left battered and wounded at the doorstep of a shelter.
Consider this. 24 women, children and babies were murdered at a hospital in Kabul, the Afghan capital. Even by standards of a country as accustomed to bloodshed as Afghanistan, the May 12 attack on a Kabul maternity clinic was an event of unmitigated horror
The World Health Organization (2019) states that every 40 seconds someone dies by suicide
. Annually, this represents over 800,000 people
, more than the number of people who die in conflict and by homicide put together. Every suicide is a tragedy that has long-lasting effects on the people left behind and most cases stem from prolonged mental health issues and abuses that are not reported.
Sexual and reproductive health and pandemics might seem to be unrelated topics, but large and dense populations are drivers of the high velocity transmission of COVID-19, and there are lessons to be learned for the future.
While one-fourth of the world's population is under home-quarantine to contain the spread of the novel Covid-19 pandemic, another crisis is brewing behind closed doors—domestic violence.
The Covid-19 pandemic has opened our eyes to many vulnerabilities. With home quarantine proving to be a successful strategy, we are finally catching up and practicing it. Bangladeshi narratives about home quarantine now discuss how home is the safest place to ensure sanitisation, hygiene and disinfection.
“I come from Baglung District, a part of Dhawalagiri Zone in Nepal. My house overlooks the river. Do you know, our district is known for the suspension bridges?”, her eyes glimmer for a fraction of a second and then she breathes a heavy sigh! Her right hand is still wrapped in a scarf, while with the other she pats her 17-month-old. “If I ever get a chance I will take you to my village, we have a lot of medicinal plants.” She pauses while tears roll down as she continues our Facetime session. “I was 16 when I had my first child and I was 17 when my arm was broken by my mother-in-law.”
For Dr Edna Adan Ismail maternal health and midwifery is deeply personal. In an interview with Women Deliver Young Leader Musu Bakoto Sawo
, Ismail recalls her mother’s devasting experiences which impacted on her own life’s choices.
When you flip through grade one Bangla school textbooks there is very little written about the progress women have made in Bangladesh since the Beijing Conference for Women in 1995.
Where are the women and youth peacebuilders in the Beijing+25 and the Generation Equality Forum processes?
Their absence raises serious questions about the effectivity and coherence of the work of the UN on gender equality since armed conflict is both a cause and a consequence of gender inequality.
Development efforts over the past two decades have seen millions of people freed from poverty and hunger, and inequalities reduced worldwide. This is an undoubted achievement, but is no reason for complacency. The fact is that inequality between men and women, between boys and girls, remains not only a social justice concern, but one of the impediments on development in countries across Africa and beyond. Addressing such inequalities is a duty for all of us, and one which is at the heart of the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day on 8th March: Each for Equal
In a groundbreaking ruling in January 2020, the International Court of Justice demanded that Myanmar halt all measures that contribute to the genocide of the Rohingya community.
Every year Valentines Day is celebrated with great relish & celebration. People show their affection for another person or people by sending cards, flowers or chocolates with messages of love.
Online sexual exploitation is a global epidemic that is increasing at an alarming rate.