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Violence Against Women Has Increased, UN Laments

Around the world, women marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the increased violence against women and girls (VAWG) due to the lockdown enforced to control the spread of the COVID-19 is one issue that has been addressed.

The United Nations said since the outbreak of the pandemic domestic violence has worsened shelters at capacity and helplines in some places seeing up to a five-fold increase in calls.

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the Executive Director of UN Women said, “Men’s violence against women is also a pandemic – one that pre-dates the virus and will outlive it. It needs our global, coordinated response and enforceable protocols. It too affects vast populations of all ages.”

This year, reports of domestic violence, cyberbullying, child marriages, sexual harassment and sexual violence have flooded in as compared to last year., the director said.

In Abuja, Amina Mohammed, the deputy secretary-general of the UN, stated that Nigeria recorded over 3,600 rape cases nationwide in the month of November. Rihanna, popstar and businesswoman, in April, donated $2.1 million (over N800 million) to assist victims of domestic violence affected by the coronavirus lockdown. A collaboration between the UN and European Union (EU-UN Spotlight Initiative) launched a VAWG Situation Room in Nigeria to monitor the rate of gender-based violence and VAWG so as to find a way to effectively end it.

In the Turkish city of Istanbul, several hundred people gathered to protest against domestic violence against women. 

In Italy, protesters gathered outside Parliament bearing banners reading “If they touch one [of us], they touch all” and “Women are not toys”. 

Spain held a minute’s silence for murdered women on Wednesday and in Portugal, the OMA observatory, which monitors femicide, said so far in 2020 30 women had been murdered, half of the victims of domestic violence.

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel said in her weekly podcast, “statistically, every 45 minutes a woman in our country is attacked by her current or former partner. These are the cruel facts. Every single case tells a horrible story…We must never look the other way when girls or women are threatened with violence or attacked.”

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