The pandemic of gender-based violence and femicides

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This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Amrutha Tadi, a second year medical student at PSG Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Coimbatore, India. She is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


Pre COVID-19, global statistics suggest that almost one in every three women have been subjected to physical/sexual intimate partner violence, non partner violence or both at least once in their life. The rate of gender based violence has intensified ever since.


Reports from different countries show that there has been an increase in the reported cases of domestic violence linked to COVID-19 which suggests that even home is not a safe place for a number of women being abused and subjected to different sorts of violence which could be physical, verbal, psychological, sexual, socio-economic, and domestic.


The outcome of gender based violence can be long lasting for its victims as they face many problems such as depression transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, and psychological and traumatic distress.


Medical students should be given a formal training to diagnose gender based violence as a part of their curriculum, so that their attitude towards the victims will be better during their practice. This can comfort the patients and also improve their mental health. Healthcare workers play a very important role in this field since they are the first ones to treat the victim. They need to make the victims understand that GBV is not normal and they need to stand up for themselves and report it. A mandatory screening and check-up must be implemented on women to find out if they are being subjected to any sorts of violence.


While the world is aware of what GBV is to a certain extent, femicide is rarely spoken about . The major cause of femicide can be tracked down to GBV. Femicide is committed because violence against women is tolerated and justified. Femicide is the intentional killing of women or girls because they are female. It is a direct violation of human rights (right to life).


In 2017, UNODC estimated that 87000 women were intentionally killed. 6 out of 10 women (58%) were killed by a partner or male relative. Globally, Latin America is home to 14 out of 25 countries with the highest rate of femicides in the world. Reports suggest that the reason might be because this region is still going through a social transition and sexism and racism still prevails. But this is no reason to justify the violent and brutal killings of women. The younger generation needs to be enlightened on this topic so that the world is more aware of femicide and stricter laws are enforced to protect the rights of women and punish the perpetrators.


To conclude, we as medical students need to educate ourselves and others about GBV, Femicide , rape and various other brutal crimes committed against women and raise our voice against it. Rural camps have to be conducted by hospitals so that the women of backward communities who don’t visit the hospitals despite abuse can be treated. Conducting campaigns in the regions where these crimes are prevalent and advocating for women’s rights will help us build a better future. We need to learn how to deal with the victims and treat them with the best healthcare facilities. Everyone deserves to live and violence of any form is not acceptable.

References

1) https://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/ending-violence-against-women/facts-and-figures
2)https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2021/653655/EXPO_BRI(2021)653655_EN.pdf

About the author

Amrutha Tadi is a second year medical student at PSG Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Coimbatore, India. Apart from being passionate in the field of medicine, she is very much interested in social matters such as gender equality and women’s empowerment. She loves to learn and integrate societal development with medical knowledge. She enjoys learning and exploring different subjects to broaden her scope of knowledge.

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