"Violent Misogyny has Blossomed in the Shadow of the Pandemic."
The global pandemic has put a strain on nearly every part of life, but one of the more troubling developments has been the rapid worldwide increase in cases of sexual assault.
According to statistics, the global pandemic and quarantine have led to a 30% worldwide increase in domestic violence.
Unfortunately, phenomena such as gender-based violence, inequality and, consequently, the murder of women are not new. According to statistics from the EU, 3,815 adult women were victims of domestic violence. In 2019 the number of incidents increased to 4,171. Thirteen murders were recorded in 2018, eight in 2019 and 10 in 2020. All murder cases in the context of family relationships were intentional. Stories like that of 28-year-old Konstantina and her brother, who were murdered by her ex-husband, or that of 64-year-old Elini, also murdered by her ex-husband, became all too familiar during the pandemic.
A recent victim of this scourge is 26-year-old Caryfalia of Greece. She and her 30-year-old partner were in the picturesque village of Folegandros on vacation when the girl’s mutilated body was found on a rocky slope. The medical examiner's conclusion was that the girl was hit in the face by her partner and after dragging her to the rocks until she lost consciousness, he threw her into the sea, apparently as a way to get out of the relationship.
A large British study analyzing the murders of women aged 14 to 100 by men between 2009-2018 showed that, on average, in the United Kingdom, a woman is murdered every three days.
In Turkey, unfortunately, a woman is murdered every two days by her partner, father, or brother. Turkish President Recep Erdogan's decision to withdraw his country from the Istanbul Convention, which provides for laws to protect women, sparked a number of protests. In the last five years the number of female homicides has doubled in the country.
All of these women were victims of domestic violence. According to the Institute for Gender Equality, “femicide” is defined as the extreme form of gender-based violence. Motivation stems from hatred of women, as established by the system of the patriarchal model from antiquity to the present day.
The question is why now? Another unfortunate negative consequence of the pandemic is the increase in incidents of domestic violence and consequently the murder of women.
In a statement, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said "Violent misogyny has blossomed in the shadow of the pandemic," adding that gender-based violence is a "parallel and equally horrific pandemic" that threatens half the world's population.
Every woman has the right to be in control of herself, as an independent entity, and have the same rights as a man. She has a voice, and she can decide for herself about her quality of life. When she realizes that her family environment is harmful, that her partner is violent and oppressive, she has to find the courage to move away from it. She has to ask for help either from a specialist or from her family. Taking away a person's life because they demand the right to respect, and equality is a crime.
Each of us has a duty to respect the individuality and diversity of the opposite sex Companionship is an integral part of our lives. But we must not lose our identity, mutual respect and understanding of our partner's wishes are key elements to build a healthy relationship.