Tag: Gender-Based Violence

Tag: Gender-Based Violence

Girls at Risk of Early Marriage, Pregnancies, and Missing Out on School due to COVID-19

Effects of Poverty on Education in Kirinyaga County- Kenya.

743 million!! That’s the number of girls that are out of school right now due to schools shutting down to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Most of these girls may never even return to school after the crisis is over.

Do you know what this means?

These girls are going to miss out on so many opportunities. They are also more likely to experience abuse, child marriage, early pregnancies, violence, and hardship.

With so many issues arising during this time like police brutality, gender-based violence, and digital gaps, we also need to take a close look at how the COVID-19 pandemic will impact girls around the world, and examine past crises to understand the current risks.

Over the past few months, as COVID-19 has moved from a fear-producing unknown to an era-defining terror, we’ve seen mainstream media coverage that mirrors the failures of our healthcare system, the police force, and the government as a whole.

Teenage pregnancies are rising in the wake of this pandemic because so many girls are being sexually exploited in the crisis-affected areas.

Susan, a 15-year-old girl says “ I know that so many girls in my area will suffer. There will be a scarcity of food, we will get abused and violated. Boys always ask for sexual favors if we ask them for help.”

Low-income families are most likely to force their daughters into early marriage. These girls will no longer be able to go back to school and live up to their full potential.

Related Stories: Poverty and Depression as a Result of COVID-19 Has Affected the Youth in Kenya.

Pandemics have been seen to make existing gender inequalities worse and can make it more difficult for women and girls to receive treatment and health.

Health care systems have been forced to channel all of their resources to combat an epidemic so sexual and reproductive health care has been overlooked despite the persistent need for adequate family planning, menstrual health resources, and maternal care.

 

 

 

Universities online learning during covid-19

Many schools all over the world have turned to remote learning to keep students busy but it is unfortunate that most girls do not have access to the tools that are required.

Did you know that only 39% of girls who live in rural areas make it to secondary school? Boys, on the other hand, 45% of them make it to secondary school globally.

Now imagine how much this divide has grown due to COVID-19.

Families choosing boys to go to school over girls is as a result of gender norms. It is absurd how in the 21st century, there is no agency in such issues. Girls still do not have a voice.

Related Stories: Coronavirus- How to Manage Your Mental Health During Self-Isolation.

 

Another issue is that the number of boys in low-income families who own smartphones is much higher compared to girls.

Remote learning becomes so much easier for them. Girls not only do not have access to remote learning, but also general access to learning period!

The big challenge that has remained in many countries is that girls drop out of school at much higher rates than boys.

We have made so much effort to get girls to go to school, and suddenly schools are closed.

School closures are not only causing girls to miss out academically; they also prevent girls from having access to benefits like support from other students and teachers, or the chance to network.

Protect A Girls Image is calling on governments and local authorities to make education affordable and accessible for all, continue access to sexual and reproductive information and services, protect families from hunger, tackle gender-based violence, and provide support for refugees, girls, and women.

 

CONCLUSION

Truth is that in times of crisis, disparities like these become even more apparent.

We have seen the effects this pandemic is having on women and girls.

From the increased reports of domestic violence as survivors are forced to lockdown with their abusers, to the restrictions on reproductive healthcare and the challenges of working women struggling to balance work and family.

The fact that 85% of all nurses, 75% of primary caregivers, and 62% of minimum and low-wage workers are women—women and girls’ lives are especially impacted by this pandemic.

There is a need to look at the global crisis through a gendered lens, to create awareness so we can then address these issues and create change.

Do you agree?

 

Fighting Against Gender-Based Violence During the Covid-19 Pandemic in Kenya.

As the country deals with the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a shocking increase in the number of sexual offences cases reported.

Many countries are reporting a surge in cases of domestic and sexual violence, also known as gender-based violence (GBV), as well as violence against children.

Kenya is following this trend because a third of all crimes reported since COVID-19 arrived were related to sexual violence.

Self-isolation for women in coercive or violent relationships means being trapped (often without the means of accessing support) with a perpetrator who may become more abusive when there is no other outlet.

Over the past two weeks, sexual offences such as rape and defilement have constituted more than 35% of all reported cases in Kenya.

Coincidentally, many Kenyans have been working from home over the past two weeks, with many students being home from learning institutions as well.

A 7 p.m to 5 a.m curfew has also been imposed since Friday, March 27.

There has been a significant spike in sexual offences in many parts of Kenya in the last two weeks. These offences constitute 35.8% of the criminal matters reported during the period.

In some cases, unfortunately, the perpetrators of such offences are close relatives, guardians or persons living with the victims.

These are people who are supposed to take care of the young girls, but instead, they are preying on them.

Different people who work on gender-based violence have voiced their concerns that some of these directives are creating a fertile ground for this to happen.

The United Nations and the Government of Kenya launched a flash appeal this month, seeking $267 million to respond to the most immediate needs of over 10 million people during the pandemic.

Of this amount, $4.2m is needed to provide life-saving medical treatment, psycho-social support and legal representation in relation to violence against children and GBV.

The gaps in violence prevention and response existed in Kenya before COVID-19. This crisis magnifies these gaps as resources and access to services become even more strained.

Reasons why there is a spike in sexual offences and gender-based violence.

REASONS THERE IS A SPIKE IN GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE

  • To begin with, the pandemic has affected a lot of people’s ability to earn a daily wage, many people depend on their daily income to provide for their families and this causes frustration. Some of them vent out their frustrations through gender-based violence.

 

  • People’s freedom of movement has been curtailed. They can’t go to bars, clubs or other social joints so they resort to drinking at home. Alcohol can also be a trigger for gender-based violence.

 

  • We must also remember that children are at home and not all of them are home with their parents. Some are being taken care of by their guardians, relatives or living at facilities such as children’s homes. They are confined in the same closed areas with their guardians, you don’t know what could happen.

 

  • An issue that is overlooked is that women and girls are also unable to access reproductive health services. Lockdowns and lack of prioritization of SGBV response services mean many women will face forced pregnancies. In turn, restricted access to abortion care facilities or pharmacies that provide medical abortions (i.e. misoprostol pills that can be taken at home) if quarantine periods are extended may lead to unsafe abortions and increased mortality among SGBV survivors

 

What is the UN and Government of Kenya doing about Gender-Based Violence?

What the UN and the Kenyan Government is doing Aboout GBV

  • The UN’s rights-based response to COVID-19 includes strengthening and increasing the availability of essential GBV services. To address restricted access to services during isolation, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has collaborated with the Kenya Red Cross Society to sustain clinical management of sexual violence supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) in all humanitarian hubs in the country.

 

  • UNICEF is working with Kenya’s Department of Children’s Services to continue to provide case management services for girl and boy survivors of violence against children.

 

  • UN Women, UNFPA and UNICEF are working closely with Kenya’s national child and GBV hotlines, to increase psychosocial support through telephone and chat counselling services. These are often first responders to survivors of domestic violence or violence against children and their role cannot be understated. Data from these helplines are already informing the government’s national response. Assistance is also being given to the Ministry of Health to develop GBV guidelines during COVID-19.

 

  • Public awareness-raising, especially for those most at risk, will be rolled out to promote rights and services. Public engagement is also crucial for prevention, which is why the UN agencies will identify male champions to promote respectful relationships and encourage others to refrain from violence.

 

As Protect A Girls Image Organization, we are trying our best to raise awareness on all levels, for instance, there should be a toll-free helpline for victims of gender-based violence.

If you are assaulted by your spouse at night right now, you can’t leave the house because you’re scared you’ll be beaten up even before you get to the police station to report the matter.

You know, femicide has been an issue in Kenya even before the Coronavirus, so these are things that the government and Nonprofit Organizations should just do. Relevant bodies like the judiciary and police should also communicate and share crucial information.

It Is important for authorities to create public awareness of how victims could report cases and receive the necessary assistance.

We need to raise awareness on these issues just like the government is raising awareness on the virus, what measures to take and so on. You know, right now, the situation is difficult.

Conclusion

It is clear from previous epidemics that during health crises, women typically take on additional physical, psychological and time burdens as caregivers. As such, it is critical that all actors involved in efforts to respond to COVID-19 – across all sectors – take GBV into account within their programme planning and implementation.

 

INCASE YOU MISSED IT:

Donating Food As A Response To Coronavirus/ The Church and Non-profits.

Coronavirus and COVID-19: How We Are Caregiving for the Elderly.

Tips for parenting during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. {Infographics}