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Last modified on Tuesday, 22 December 2020 05:40

Data underscores that gender-based violence is rising with COVID-19 Featured

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Data underscores that gender-based violence is rising with COVID-19

Dhaka, Bangladesh December 1, 2020 – BRAC today released new data on gender-based violence in conjunction with 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. The 16 Days are recognized annually from November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to December 10, Human Rights Day. The data released by BRAC is as follows:

Over 25,000 Complaints of Gender-Based Violence were Received by BRAC Legal Aid Services in Bangladesh in the First Ten Months of 2020

Even with restricted mobility because of lockdowns for a limited time, a total of 25,607 complaints of gender-based violence were received by BRAC’s 410 Human Rights and Legal Aid Clinics across Bangladesh in the first ten months of 2020.

Of these complaints, 15,047 were resolved through alternative dispute resolution; legal counsel was provided to 3,239 survivors, and 1,724 complaints led to civil and criminal cases being filed. In addition, almost $USD 4 million in dower and maintenance was recovered for survivors.

This spike is supported by data from Polli Shomaj, BRAC’s community-based women's groups, who reported a 24% rise in incidents of gender-based violence

Polli Shomaj are active in 54 out of 64 districts in Bangladesh and work to stop violence and help women understand their rights. They reported a 24% rise in incidents of violence against women in 2020 compared to 2019.

Greater Pressure on Teenage Girls in Bangladesh to Submit to Child Marriage Amid COVID-19

The number of child marriages reported by Polli Shomaj in the first 10 months of 2020 grew by 68%, compared to the same period in 2019. There was also a 72% rise in the number of child marriages prevented by the women’s groups during the same period.

In the third quarter of 2020, with COVID-19 widespread, the number of child marriages prevented was 219% higher than the same period in 2019. The number of child marriages prevented rose by 571% from the first quarter of 2020 to the third quarter of 2020.

The quarterly comparisons are as follows:

Months

Number of Child Marriages that Polli Shomaj prevented in 2019

Number of Child Marriages that Polli Shomaj Prevented in 2020

January- March

96

79

April-June

109

75

July-September

166

492

Total

371

646

The rise in child marriage is particularly concerning because child brides are more likely to experience gender based violence

Globally, girls who marry before the age of 15 are almost 50% more likely to experience physical or sexual violence from a partner than girls who married after 18. Child brides are also more likely to believe that a man is justified in beating his wife.

“Combating gender-based violence and ensuring gender equality is top priority for BRAC, and the COVID-19 pandemic is only making the fight harder,” said Asif Saleh, Executive Director, BRAC Bangladesh. “BRAC has major initiatives, highlighted above, that demonstrate that with community mobilization and awareness, significant progress can be made in tackling this challenge. During COVID-19, It is more important that ever that  a more concerted commitment and effort are made from all tiers of government and society to  ensure that gender-based violence is  stopped and rights of women are protected.”

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