Safe Space: Gender violence against women during COVID-19

Safe Space is an online media platform to publicise its podcasts created with the intent of sharing knowledge, information, and awareness surrounding the issues of domestic violence and further activate the state services available.

Violence against women is a major global issue. Bangladesh is no exception, rather, because of its age-old establishment of patriarchal society since early time, domestic violence has always been in upsurge. Women and girls face various forms of gender-based violence, including domestic violence, physical and psychological abuse, dowry-related violence, rape, and early marriage. A study by ActionAid Bangladesh found that two of three women suffer from domestic violence. More surprisingly, only 2.1% of women took legal action for such heinous acts. According to the researchers, there are many underlying constraints on taking a stand against the violence. Societal pressure, regressive mindset, limited awareness, gender biases, corrupt criminal justice system financial dependence, to name a few.

In the recent COVID-19 pandemic we have observed that the cases significantly increased due to the changing scenario leading to many men jobless. According to a recent survey by Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF), a local human rights organization, at least 4,249 women and 456 children were subjected to domestic violence in 27 out of 64 districts of Bangladesh in April, with 1,672 women and 424 children facing violence for the first time in their lives. Statistics and other evidence show a significant rise in the rate of violence country-wise and the amount of cases filed per month is barely 60% compared to the total amount of cases that take place. 4 This shows how awareness is highly needed and proper support to be provided so that without worrying women can fight for their rights.

We aim to work on and make a significant contribution to the protection and prevention of domestic violence through the digital platform: such as sharing information and details on the governmental and non-governmental services available for victims of domestic violence, establish linkages with support and shelter programs around Bangladesh, increase the access to legal aid services and creating awareness about violence against women through podcasts and interactive live sessions and videos.

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