BEIRUT: While millions of people isolate themselves indoors, security reports in some countries confirm that COVID-19 has contributed to increasing levels of domestic violence.
Sharika Wa Laken, an independent feminist news website that monitors and publishes news related to women, mentioned on its platform that the Chinese security statistics revealed that 90% of the reasons behind the violence that has been recently reportedis a result of COVID-19.
In this regard, who will protect women in Lebanon in light of the public mobilization decision and what are the most prominent mechanisms that can be adopted?
“Gender-based violence’s risks at home and public spaces are exacerbated due to self-isolation, misuse of power, heightened tensions, financial uncertainties, disruption of life-saving services, and other pressures,” Ghida Anani, Founder and Director of ABAAD organization, told Annahar. “Therefore, ABAAD put together a national plan to ensure the continuity of life-saving services while putting the best interest of its right holders as a priority and at the center of the response."
ABAAD has developed internal case management guidelines to provide crisis phone counseling and emergency support services via phone for high-risk cases. The NGO’s specialized team remains available around the clock as ABAAD's emergency hotlines continue to function 24/7.
”We are providing community- based awareness sessions on COVID-19 and psycho-social support sessions via conference calls and WhatsApp groups,” said Anani, adding that the NGO is closely working with government stakeholders including the Lebanese Ministry of Social Affairs and the Ministry of Public Health to roll out their national emergency response plans.
Fe-Male, another local NGO, is also striving to limit violence during quarantine.
“Domestic violence is an outcome of laws that deprive women from protection especially in critical times like this,” Alia Awada, Co-Director of Fe-Male, said.
Awada told Annahar that Fe-Male is offering constant training sessions that aim to enable journalists and everyone who works in media to adopt a new narrative, one that is gender sensitive. In addition, it challenges the stereotypical images about women in the media.
”While many reforms were made in the Lebanese legal texts to ensure further protection for women and girls from all forms of discrimination and violence, the fight for the application of these legislation has a long way to go,” said Anani.
ABAAD, Fe-Male, and many other organizations continue to exchange information, resources and advocacy efforts, and stand in solidarity with one another to share the same prospects and put the safety of women and girls as a top priority.
Welcome to “NAYA," the newest addition to Annahar’s coverage. This section aims at fortifying Lebanese women’s voices by highlighting their talents, challenges, innovations, and women’s empowerment. We will also be reporting on the world of work, family, style, health, and culture. NAYA is devoted to women of all generations-NAYA Editor, Sally Farhat: [email protected]
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