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Giving Compass' Take:
• Janti Soeripto shares ways to address gender-based violence that we know - and must assume where we lack data - is on the rise during COVID-19.
• What can your role be in addressing gender-based violence?
• Read about gender equality and COVID-19.
While the world is paying rapt attention to the daily rise and fall of the numbers of cases of COVID-19 around the world, there’s another part of this crisis that is not getting the action that it needs: gender-based violence.
UN Women is calling it a shadow pandemic, with the risk of gender-based violence to girls and women surging higher as COVID-19 has forced them to stay in their homes – some trapped with their abusers and isolated from support – and put both economic and psychological stress on families. Girls around the world are living in grave risk of violence. And they need our support right now, especially girls living in humanitarian settings.
Guidance from the UN and gender-based violence practitioners have long called for humanitarian actors to assume that gender-based violence is happening, regardless of whether data on incidence or prevalence is available. That’s both because collecting the data can further endanger women and girls who are experiencing violence, and because even in the best of circumstances, violence is under-reported due to the enduring stigma.
It’s therefore vital that we learn from past experiences – such as the Ebola outbreak — and apply that learning to our current crisis. We are long past the time where we can pretend we are unaware of the risks of gender-based violence. We have the knowledge and the tools to respond. We urge the humanitarian community to harness the will to act now to protect a generation of girls from gender-based violence:
- Create a specific objective on gender-based violence prevention and response in the final update of the global humanitarian response plan for COVID-19 and mandate the collection, analysis and use of sex, age, and diversity-disaggregated data across all assessments and interventions.
We’re extremely concerned that despite experience and the evidence we do have, gender-based violence is still glossed over in a litany of risks in the global COVID-19 humanitarian response plan. But it’s not too late.
- Increase funding for gender-based violence prevention and response in humanitarian contexts proportionate with the extreme need.
- Prioritize the safe and meaningful participation and leadership of girls and women on the frontline of this crisis in humanitarian decision-making and COVID-19 response efforts.
Read the full article about gender-based violence prevention by Janti Soeripto at Save the Children.