Bangladesh Organization for Learning & Development (BOLD) and Women Empowering Women (WEW), has jointly organised a webinar on "Rise of Domestic Violence against Women in Bangladesh during Covid-19 Pandemic".
The programme was held from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm on Friday, said a press release.
The discussants were Rubaiya Khan, psycho-social counselor, founder and lead counselor, Reflection, founder and facilitator Anandajatra, Sadia Afrin, independent researcher, former research investigator, Icddrb, SayedaFerdous Ahmed, lawyer, Supreme Court of Bangladesh and founder & chairman, Justice Vision Bangladesh and Arifa As Alam, programme coordinator, Acid Survivors Foundation.
The programme was moderated by Ismat Jahan Lissa, founder of Women Empowering Women and chair of Women Leadership Development Committee, BOLD.
The participants discussed about the root causes of the sharp rise of domestic violence against women in Bangladesh during Covid-19 pandemic period,
They also discussed about what emergency course of actions can be taken to address the issue giving more priority and what can be done to challenge the status qou, as example break the social acceptance of violence against women and enhance the process of gender equality in family, community and society and make Bangladesh safer place for women.
Domestic violence against women is an age old phenomenon. Women were always considered weak, vulnerable and in a position to be exploited. In societies with a patriarchal power structure and with rigid gender roles, women are often poorly equipped to protect themselves if their partners become violent.
"We know that domestic violence is rooted in power and control, however we need to challenge the status quo and bring positive change for sustainable solution, we need to work on redesigningthe power structure and develop the national policies and guideline in the lense of gender equality to create an inclusive and gender equal society" said Saida Afrin.
Due to the countrywide lockdown and zero mobility, women and children are imprisoned within the boundaries of their homes with their abusers 24/7.
Another dangerous effect of long isolation is mental health crisis. Due to job cut, financial instability, job insecurity, people may face reactive depression from sitting at home, which can lead to stress, frustration and anger. Stressed people often release their frustration on the weaker members of their family—children, wives and elderly parents.
Domestic violence is a major contributor to the ill health of women. It has serious consequences on women's mental and physical health, including their reproductive and sexual health.
According to a study, last year, the total number of acid victims was only 19 in Bangladesh, but during the pandemic, within last three months a sharp rise had been witnessed.