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Domestic Violence rise during lockdown

According to the police, heinous crimes like mass atrocities have been committed in Kailali of Far-Western Province and Kavre of Province-3. During the lockdown, most of the crime related crimes have been committed in Province-5. Similarly, five cases have been registered in Kathmandu, 10 in State-1, 10 in State-2, five in Bagmati, five in Gandaki, eight in Karnali and two in the Far West.

Millions of life are packed in their houses . More than one third of the world’s population is under some form of restriction. Countries around the world are implementing measures to slow the spread of the corona virus, from national quarantines to school closures. This period of crisis has only one solution till date, lockdown.

Fewer trains, planes and heavy vehicles and reduced manufacturing and construction have all contributed to the noticeable reduction in vibrations felt around the world. Staying at home has not only reduced the risk of spreading  it has also ‘calmed’ the earth, with a notable reduction in ‘seismic noise’ by 33% according to Royal Observatory , Belgium. But the scene is quite opposite behind the closed doors.

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Humans who have reduced the sound in  the atmosphere surely have increased the noise of violence in their houses . Many videos are roaming around the social media of couples enjoying the lockdown , taking it as opportunity to spend time with each other . Many husbands are posting videos of helping their wife and other family members in the household . But it seems as if the situation is not same everywhere.

The picture which is not presented on the social media is the picture of violence which includes  physical , mental and  emotional. The World Health Organization has warned that stay-at-home orders and quarantine measures taken to try to reduce the spread of Covid-19  will likely lead to an increase in domestic violence. Women in abusive relationships are more likely to be exposed to violence, as are their children, as family members spend more time in close contact, and families cope with additional stress and potential economic or job losses,” said WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Australia, Belgium, China, France, India, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Netherland, News Land, Pakistan, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom and United state has marked a rapid increase in cases of domestic violence. In  the corona virus lockdown , complains of violence against has almost doubled. The constant fear of staying with an abuser 24/7 and nowhere to go is much more than the fear of corona.

In Australia  a report from the Gender and Covid-19 Working Group stated that of 400 frontline workers polled some 40 percent reported an increase in calls for help, and 70 percent saw an increase in how complex the cases were. The Irish polish  received a large increase in the number of calls regarding domestic abuse, with some victims stating they had to flee to their car to call for help.

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In France cases have increased by 32%, in Paris by 36%, in China the cases of domestic violence has increased from 47 to 162 over the previous year. In India there were 69 complains of domestic violence  in the 1st week of March .

Nepal police believes though the number of filed complaints have decreased but the rate of domestic violence have not. Complains through telephones have increased in the lockdown. While the biggest problem in domestic abuse cases in Nepal is the stigma that remains and so it is not spoken openly.

Nepal having a male dominated society has a worse situation which is mainly hidden behind closed doors. Abusive marriages are a form of control and power which is gained by keeping the victim in the relationship because of the children, and fear of the society.

In Nepal, there were already cases of domestic violence before the corona virus scare. In fact, domestic violence is the biggest source of injury for women in Nepal with half the women saying they had experience some form of violence. Many abusers treat their wife and children as punching bags. No jobs and no source of income is enough for the abuser to vent their frustration by physical violence.

Government should take strict decisions to provide safety in such a crisis . Along with the management of controlling the spread of corona virus , consideration should also be take in to other aspects of the society which is pleading for help with regard to social norms.

BTech
Kathmandu University

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