By Aayushi, Aparna, Chandni and Ishita
Extensively, women’s rights groups have warned of a spike in online abuse. Threatened by rape and porn brutality, women are increasingly exposed to online aggression and harassment as the pandemic drives more individuals in front of a screen. Data from India, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia showed that both the amount of misogynistic Facebook posts and tweets, as well as the engagement of people with them, including likes, comments, and shares, soared during the time of COVID-related lockdowns.
The shutdown of schools, offices, and lack of access to the outside world created an unsafe space for women with nowhere to go for help. In India, from March to July, the number of domestic violence filed cases increased to 25 percent. While abusers in domestic violence are at home, women were trapped in unsafe households. COVID-19 pandemic followed by lockdown increased domestic violence cases across the world. The increased threat to women and children was a predictable side effect of the lockdowns across the world.
This major fallout of the pandemic has also led to the rise in the rates of female poverty. The gender gap has only increased during the pandemic. According to a UN report, “The average woman now spends nearly the equivalent of a full-time job doing unpaid childcare – a full working day a week more than the average man.” Now, about one-third of women spend more time doing household labor, while half of the men don’t trouble themselves with preparing food at all. Women’s plight during the pandemic is unheard of while they continue to labor in their unsafe homes.
While these circumstances indeed were extreme and unprecedented, they have exposed serious and persistent issues in our culture and society, and the lack of adequate support systems to help victims cope and move on from such trauma. Popular movements have taken place all over the world to address these deep-rooted issues – Israel saw protests against rising sexual violence, Turkey against domestic abuse, and Poland over abortion rights.