Violence against women, girls intensified since COVID-19 began: UN official

Violence against women and girls has intensified since the COVID-19 outbreak began as many were confined in the same houses as abusers, U.N. Women's Turkey country director has said.

Emerging data show that violence against women and girls has intensified since the outbreak of COVID-19 started, Asya Varbanova told Hürriyet Daily News in an interview.

Globally and in Turkey men have a higher fatality rate and women and girls are especially hurt by the resulting economic and social fallout, she added.

Violent partners may use confinement to further exercise power and control, she said, noting that at the same time, less income, fewer opportunities for social contact, and difficulties in accessing services and community support have caused many women to remain trapped with their abusers at home, with little support or exit options.

"Evidence is also emerging that girls are at an increased risk of child marriage as a negative coping mechanism of COVID-19, associated with economic fallout and school closures," Varbanova said.

The increased use of technology during COVID-19 has facilitated online violence against women and girls such as stalking, zoom bombing, and sexual harassment, she added.

In April 2020, U.N. Women conducted the Rapid Gender Assessment of COVID-19 to measure the immediate economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on women and men in Turkey.

The assessment shows that both women's and men's domestic and care responsibilities at home have increased significantly since the pandemic started, the U.N. official stated, however, the burden has been disproportionately placed on women, who expressed an increase to a larger degree across all categories of unpaid care work in comparison with men and...

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