Ria (imaginary name) was living a peaceful life before the coronavirus pandemic started. At the beginning she was very much afraid about getting affected of corona, but not anymore. Now she is afraid that she will die of her husband’s torture before any disease can touch her. Her life has become miserable but she is getting almost no support because her family thinks it is normal in this period as everyone is going through stress. Only she knows how she is counting every moment being scared and close to death.
Not only Ria, but this has also been the story of thousands of women who have been victims of domestic violence during this pandemic. Domestic violence has increased dramatically during COVID19 according to the report of UN Women. They have described the worldwide increase in domestic abuse as a “shadow pandemic”. It is thought cases have increased by 20% during the lockdown, as many people are trapped at home with their abuser. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women said that even before the pandemic, violence against women was one of the most widespread violations of human rights. Since lockdown restrictions, domestic violence has multiplied, spreading across the world in a shadow pandemic.
Domestic violence is a common but dangerous offence. In many societies it is a common and sadly expected offence as the people are used to see this and start thinking it is normal. However, domestic violence is not ‘normal’ at all; be it during the pandemic or any other situation. Any offence like this should be taken seriously, not as normal. Many victims accept this situation and do not stand against the abusers due to the existing social norms. Domestic violence is one of the major hindrances in the path of development. Because of the pandemic this issue has increased more than before due to various reasons like- financial challenges, mental health issues, disagreement of opinion etc. To develop any society the equality and equity among everyone should be ensured.
It is true that the coronavirus has changed everyone. A lot of people are struggling to control their emotions and going through mental health issues. But they have no right to be abusive towards others just because they are not able to handle their own issues. Also the society should stop showing sympathy to the abusers stating about their emotional management issues. Rather they should support the victims and become empathetic. Normalizing any offence is also an offence. It is high time to understand the situation and recognise the problem to create a better society for all.
The vaccine of coronavirus is already in our reach and hope this pandemic will end soon. But the vaccine of ending domestic violence is still in the bud, we are afraid and doubtful about when it will end forever.