Lock Down: Skyrocketing Domestic Violence

From : Ruby Kholifah / Secretary General of AMAN

Lock Down.

Amanasia.org – 29 March 2020 at 22.20 Jordanian time, a 20-minute video uploaded by an account called @NadeenMadhoun, tells the story of a woman named Eman Al-Khateeb, 36, who was divorced from her husband, evicted from home by her brother and mother for not contributing money. He left with his 13-year-old son from his home. Khateeb’s ex-husband lives abroad and does not pay the divorce fee determined by the court. Khateeb said in his video that women who suffer a fate like him must dare to talk about what happened. (excerpted from thenational.ae and albawaba.com).

The story of Khateeb is not the first to occur in Jordan. The National newspaper has reported that in 2018, there were 11,000 cases of violence against women reported. In 2019, there were 20 women killed because of family problems. In the current lockdown condition, cases of domestic violence will be increasingly difficult to reach. Salma Al Nemes, Secretary-General of the National Committee on Women’s Affairs said that women’s groups are very worried that women’s groups find it difficult to assist women who are experiencing violence.

In China, violence against women during the lockdown period is also worrying. The gloeandmail.com reported on March 29, 2020, that in the southern part of Hubei Province, Jianli, police-reported that incidents of domestic violence died three-fold in February, compared to last year. Along with the report, Yuanzhong-based Family and Community Service Centers with hotlines also saw a 50 percent increase in reported cases of domestic violence.

The Spanish government also reported that the helpline service reported a 12.4 percent increase in complaints in the first two weeks of lockdown, and the helpline website showed a 270 percent increase in the number of people consulted (channelnewsasia.com).

The vulnerability of women and children in the context of the state is locked down is increasingly higher, also reported by women peace activists who are members of ICAN from Sri Lanka, Jordan, Kashmir (India), Maldives and others.

Australian Prime Minister Scoot Morrison also acknowledged there was a surge in the search for cases of domestic violence in the Google search engine during the termination of non-essential government services that are ongoing to curb the spread of Covid-19. Women’s Safety, a charity for victims of domestic violence in the state of New South Wales, also reported a 40 percent surge in clients during the corona pandemic. For this reason, As reported by CNN Indonesia on March 29, Australia announced an increase in funding to overcome domestic violence by nearly US $ 100 million (around Rp1 trillion).

In Indonesia, although there has not been a comprehensive report related to this, it is important to concern all of us that the potential for domestic violence under conditions of social limitation is also likely to occur. This is because many women and men in the informal sector lose a lot of economic access, so the increasingly hard economic pressures also have the potential to increase domestic violence. Not only that, but the change in locus of male activity from outside the house into the house also requires a lot of adaptation, if it fails then frustration will probably be released to spouses or children.

Several things that make domestic violence cases increase during Pandemic Covid-19 are; First, the shifting locus of activity from outside the house into the house. Men are accustomed to spending time outside the home and more understanding of work outside the home. So, the lockdown condition for some men will cause high frustration and the most reasonable laying is on family members. Mitigation that can be done is to build a shared vision of a clean and healthy life, where all outgoing members participate in making it happen. For example, children are required to clean their room, adult men can do the cleaning work warehouse, bookshelves, and yards, and so on.

Second, access to services for victims of domestic violence is limited. During the lockdown policy, victim service institutions from both the government and civil society will experience mobility constraints. So that responses for cases will also be slower.

Third, domestic violence is considered not important and is not a priority at this time. Saving covid patients 19 or taking precautions is a priority for the government and also the community. So when there is a case of domestic violence, it will not get a quick response.