16 Days Of Activism

As Young Women The Current Issues Faced From Gender-Based Violence

hana

Dec 10, 2021

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An increase in the reported cases of sexual and gender-based violence as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has been witnessed worldwide. According to a new UN report called “measuring the shadow pandemic: Violence against women during COVID-19”, which is based on a survey from 13 countries, almost 1 in 2 women reported that ever since the pandemic they have started to experience a form of violence.

Gender-based violence (GBV) is defined as violence that is directed against a person based on their gender or sex, including acts that inflict physical, mental or sexual harm or suffering, threats of such acts, coercion and other deprivations of liberty. GBV normally occurs as a result of unequal power relationships and normative role expectations between genders within a society. Violence against women and girls is one the most prevalent human rights violations in the world, having no national, social or economic boundaries. Various forms of GBV include Violence Against Women and girls (VAWG), Violence against LGBTIQ+ people, Domestic Violence (DV), Sexual Violence (SV) and Intimate Partner Violence (IPV).

Within Sri Lanka, especially following the lockdown and travel restrictions there has been an observable rise in the number of GBV cases, as suggested by anecdotal evidence. Moreover, even before the pandemic, the Women’s Wellbeing survey shows that 1 in 5 (20.4%) women in Sri Lanka have experienced sexual and/or physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime; and 1 in 4 women (24.9%) in Sri Lanka have experienced sexual and/or physical violence since the young age of 15 (2019). Persisting issues within Sri Lanka like victim cases like rape, sexual harassment in public places as well as within close relatives (verbal, physical, and mental), domestic violence has led to only less than 10% of women speaking or taking action against it.

To break this vicious cycle and existing stigma of inequity, victimisation and helplessness within the community, there is a need to educate, particularly young women, to take collective action against harmful gender and social norms, as well as empower them to recognize, address, and prevent acts of gender-based violence for a brighter.

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