Must Reads: No Place to Hide

In this week's Must Reads: Amid lockdowns, shutdowns, curfews, and social distancing, there is a rise in reported cases of sexualized violenceIn the UK, "It's a perfect storm," Suzanne Jacob, chief executive of British charity SafeLives. Reports of domestic abuse have spiked by about 30% since France went into lockdown in mid-March. In Pakistan, between 70 to 90 percent of women experience some form of physical, emotional or psychological abuse— mostly from an intimate partner.

1. "Lockdowns will lead to a surge in domestic abuse, but also severely limit the ability of services to help." As the United Kingdom shut down, charities urged employers, bank staff, healthworkers and neighbours to be extra vigilant, adding that even a note dropped in a grocery bag could be a lifeline for a woman trapped with an abusive partner. (Thomson Reuters)

2. Reports of domestic abuse have spiked by about 30% since France went into lockdown in mid-March. French officials set up an “alert system” in pharmacies nationwide, where victims of domestic abuse could discreetly ask the pharmacist to call police by asking for a “mask 19.” The initiative mimics a scheme set up in Spain’s Canary Islands that uses the same code word. (Vice)

3. France announced that it will pay for 20,000 nights in hotel rooms for victims of domestic violence and open pop-up counseling centers at supermarkets. There are worrying reports from other countries, too. "There has always been gender violence, but this crisis makes it all worse," said Simona Ammerata, who works at the Lucha y Siesta women's shelter in Rome, Italy. (CNN)

4. "For decades, critically important public programs and structures have been starved of funding, and efforts to ensure that women have adequate income, health care, worker protections, support for caregivers, nutrition and housing assistance have been met with relentless resistance," said Fatima Goss Graves, head of the National Women's Law Center, in a statement to CBS News on Tuesday. "Those efforts have placed women and their families at unconscionable risk from the COVID-19 crisis." (CBS)

5. In Pakistan, the most-cited estimate says between 70 to 90 percent of women experience some form of physical, emotional or psychological abuse— mostly from an intimate partner. Acts of physical violence in marital relationships are almost always accompanied by psychological abuse, and in thirty to fifty percent of cases, it is also accompanied by sexual abuse. Such abuse is typically part of an on-going pattern of patriarchal control, rather than an isolated act of physical aggression. (DAWN)


  • From Indrani Goradia on Thrive Global. In her piece No Place to Hide,  she notes: "This Coronavirus pandemic is forcing closures of schools and workplaces. As I began to do my work in the gender violence space, I realized that victims have the same fears about being at home with a raging abuser. When the abuser is at home, violence occurs. When the abuser is at work, the victim gets a respite, either because they (victims) go to work themselves or because they(victims) are at home alone.

    "When we add the ongoing pandemic of violence to women, it is easy to see that there will be more pain for women who are being forced to spend time at home."


  • Podcast with Indrani Goradia: Pandemic Inside a Pandemic. Listen on Our Voices Matter.

  • Coronavirus lockdown in India: Vimlesh Solanki, a volunteer for a Sambhali Trust, an organisation that supports women in Jodhpur, the second largest city in Rajasthan, says coronavirus has put women in danger. "Stressful situations like this means that there are more things that trigger their already abusive partners." (BBC)

  • Here’s What Women’s Rights Lawyers Want You To Know About Supporting Working Women During COVID-19. (Refinery29)

  • UNFPA issues guidance on COVID-19. Women represent 70 percent of the health and social sector workforce globally and special attention should be given to how their work environment may expose them to discrimination, as well as thinking about their sexual and reproductive health and psychosocial needs as frontline health workers. 

    Download: English  Spanish  French  Arabic  Turkish  Portuguese  Russian  Tajik

  • The Rotary Foundation: Now accepting applications for the 2021-22 Rotary Peace Fellowship program. Candidates have until 31 May to submit applications to their district. Districts must submit endorsed applications to The Rotary Foundation by 1 July. (Rotary) (BBC)

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Must Reads: Coronavirus Pandemic Creates Intensified Risks for Women

In this week's Must Reads: Coronavirus lockdowns create unique risks for women subjected to violence as policymakers and service organizations build capacity to respond. Women make up 70 percent of workers in the health and social sector, and they do three times as much unpaid care work at home as men. Nurses in Australia experience attacks from citizens. In Spain, criminal law reform efforts see some success: all nonconsensual sex will be defined as rape and perpetrators will face tougher sentences.

1. Amid efforts to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus, policymakers must not lose sight of the vulnerabilities of women and girls, which have been exacerbated by the crisis, says a UNFPA guidance note released on March 19, 2020: “Disease outbreaks affect women and men differently,” says the new UNFPA guidance document, which covers how gender is playing a role in the unfolding pandemic. “Pandemics make existing gender inequalities for women and girls worse, and can impact how they receive treatment and care.” (UNFPA)

2. As millions stay home to help flatten the curve, domestic violence organizations and support systems are scrambling to adapt to the rapidly shifting landscape. Spending days, weeks or even months in the presence of an abusive partner escalates already dangerous situations. The lives of people stuck in physically or emotionally abusive relationships have — and will — become harder, which has already been seen in the pandemic hotspots of China and Italy. (New York Times)

3. The very conditions that are needed to battle the disease—isolation, social distancing, restrictions on freedom of movement—are the very conditions that feed into the hands of abusers who now find state-sanctioned circumstances tailor-made for unleashing abuse. (ReliefWeb)

4. Nurses in some hospitals are reportedly being urged to remove their scrubs before leaving hospital after a female healthcare worker was attacked and accused of spreading the novel coronavirus. The Nursing and Midwifery Federation says it has begun to see reports of aggression towards nurses as the pandemic escalates. (Yahoo! Australia)

5. Spain to toughen law against sexual violence: All non-consensual sex will be regarded as rape, with tougher sentences available to judges. Calls to reform the criminal law concerning sexual offences have been mounting after a series of high-profile trials, including the so-called "Wolf Pack" case, in which an 18-year-old woman was gang-raped during the Pamplona bull-running festival in 2016. (Al Jazeera)



  • Roughly 70% of the global health-care workforce is made up of women, according to an analysis of 104 countries conducted by the World Health Organization. In the Hubei province of China, where the virus originated, more than 90% of health-care workers are women. (CNBC)


  • Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice releases progress research report on: Investing in Equity: Creating Equitable Funding for Local Women PeacebuildersThe IPJ conducted this research in partnership with its 2019 Women Peacemaker Fellows and five international peace funders (USAID, UKFCO, UN Women, Global Affairs Canada, and Search for Common Ground).

  • Domestic violence is the biggest source of injury for women in Nepal with half the women in a recent survey saying they had experienced some form of violence. (Nepali Times)

  • During crises like the COVID-19 pandemic, women make essential contributions as leaders and frontline responders. But they are also hit harder by the health, economic and social impacts of the outbreak. Watch video: English | French | Spanish (UN Women)

    Watch video: English | French | Spanish

  • The Rotary Foundation: Now accepting applications for the 2021-22 Rotary Peace Fellowship program. Candidates have until 31 May to submit applications to their district. Districts must submit endorsed applications to The Rotary Foundation by 1 July. (Rotary) (BBC)

Virtual CSW64 Panel: Dr. Eleanor Nwadinobi with Helen Rubenstein of Global Rights for Women

Every Woman Treaty invites you to join our own Dr. Eleanor Nwadinobi for a virtual panel with Helen Rubenstein of Global Rights for Women this Thursday, March 19, 9:00 a.m. Eastern time via  Zoom for the release and discussion of Time for Action: The Way to a Binding International Treaty on Violence Against Women and Safer Sooner: Toward a Binding Global Norm to End Violence Against Women and Girls.