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Why is domestic violence called a shadow pandemic?

According to studies conducted during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, domestic violence particularly violence against women and girls has intensified, and it has been identified as a shadow pandemic.

When pandemics and other humanitarian crises have occurred in the past, studies have shown that stress from economic hardship, social isolation and restricted movement can exacerbate the problem, with many victims trapped at home with their abusers, with limited access to services that could help them.

In the past 12 months, according to UN Women, β€œ243 million women and girls aged 15-49 globally have been subjected to sexual and/or physical violence perpetrated by an intimate partner and this number is anticipated to increase as security, health, and money worries heighten tensions and strains.”

Our culture greatly affects how women and girls report experiences of domestic violence. Based on studies conducted by the Philippine Commission on Women, persons experiencing domestic violence have low help-seeking behavior due to the following factors:

  • preference or internalization of women’s capacity to suffer in silence
  • fear for personal safety, ruining family reputation, political bias and reprisal from concerned officials
  • lack of confidence in receiving assistance from duty bearers or designated service providers
  • lack of awareness for available services and protective mechanisms they may avail

If you have experienced or are currently experiencing this in your intimate relationship, know that you are not alone and you can seek help by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 (SAFE). For specific resources available, please also refer to β€œWhat resources exist for domestic violence victims?”

Source: UN Women, Philippine Commission on Women

This article was written and edited by the Tayo editorial desk and has been reviewed by an independent panel of subject matter experts.

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