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domestic violence must end. Now.

During these tumultuous times, FairPlanet has kept our finger on the pulse of breaking news as well as developing stories from our local coverage correspondents. COVID-19 has poured fuel on what has long been burning in the background, and one issue cannot be ignored: domestic violence.

As most of us went into lockdown, our experiences have surely been vastly different, depending on where we live and our economic situation. But for many women around the world, no matter what country or their financial impact from the pandemic, domestic violence is what has awaited them during these difficult months indoors.

Support groups and helplines have seen an unprecedented rise in the reporting of domestic violence cases in close to every country globally, which only begs the questions: why are so many women and children still in domestic situations that are dangerous and what can we do to finally put out these fires?

Welcome back to FairPlanet's weekly roundup. This week we're looking at domestic violence and its rise due to the pandemic. Read. Debate: Engage.

The good

Taboos are being smashed the world over

One of the largest issues faced with tackling domestic violence is the taboo it still holds in too many countries and communities. Often times, women and children who are victims of domestic violence are alienated from their close ones if they are vocal about their situation at home. That's why smashing taboos around domestic violence is one of the most urgent and crucial steps we must take in tackling the issue itself while also creating support networks that nurture a safe space for victims during and after they speak out.

As more and more women begin coming forward, being loud is and speaking out is critical to inspire others to follow suit. From celebrities such as Selma Hayek who once said "Not every country in the world has a problem with hunger, but every place in the world has a problem with domestic violence", to Rhianna and Annie Lennox, each voice speaks volumes – giving courage for thousands of others.

Alongside advocacy, innovative platforms are emerging online, where 24-hour anonymous chat rooms are available and information around the many different types of domestic violence are clearly outlined. Because when it comes to domestic violence, there are myriad situations that are often times far from being black and white.

Ending domestic violence requires brave individuals to lead the way and show others that there is support on the other side while legal systems are put in place where they are missing.

The bad

domestic violence is up due to COVID-19

Domestic violence across the world has surged during COVID-19, largely due to lockdown measures where vulnerable persons (usually women and children) have been forced to stay indoors with their abuser.

Where otherwise women who suffer from domestic violence can find a place of refuge from their spouses or abusers in their homes outside – in groups, at work or with friends and family – what the almost worldwide lockdown has done is remove any of these places from the day to day of victims. Adding to the mix a difficult economic situation and prolonged periods of time stuck indoors, the situation has reached a peak, with hotlines reporting abnormal amounts of calls.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the situation for women appears to be particularly dire. According to the Thomson Reuters Foundation, almost one in every two women in Bosnia experiences violence, and under five per cent of them report it. What’s more is that the subject remains taboo in the country, and is seldom discussed openly, which leads to a widespread culture of complacency.

Find out how you can help support United Women, a Bosnia and Herzegovina-based non-profit organisation supporting women suffering from domestic abuse and working to abolish the culture of violence against women in the country.


End Domestic Abuse in Bosnia and Herzegovina

by Yair Oded

United Women Banja Luka is a Bosnia and Herzegovina-based NGO working to protect and support women victims of domestic violence and abuse.
Our coverage

Abusive husband's victim: "Who would imagine I would regret the bars and clubs closing?"

by Katarina Panić

As more countries impose anticorona measures, more domestic violence helplines and shelters across the world are reporting rising calls for help. UN Women called the phenomenon "the shadow pandemic", desperately lacking governrmental response.

‘Ten houses’: Africa’s silver bullet for mutating urban violence

by Bob Koigi

How does the transformative ‘nyumba kumi’ concept in East Africa, embracing the ten houses ideology, make neighbours their brothers' keepers?
domestiv violence

Croatia finally calls rape by its real name

by Katarina Panić

How the Croatian government was forced to toughen the penalties for sexual and domestic violence.

Is Turkey about to revive the "marry your rapist" law?

by Katarina Panić

"How I met your mother? I raped her when she was 13" – reads the placard that demonstrators in Tunisia waved outside the national parliament four years ago. They have been protesting against the local court's decision a 13-year-old girl is fit for marriage. She was two years below the age of consent, and her adult step-brother impregnated her.

UN criticises Italian divorce bill

by Federica Tedeschi

All children of parents who are seeking divorce in Italy, will have to undergo shared parenting plan, almost regardless of their specific family situation.
Country focus
Bosnia and Herzegovina

Situated on the Balkan Peninsula in southeastern Europe, Bosnia and Herzegovina neighbours Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro and is almost completely landlocked, despite running miles away from the coast.

Bosnia and Herzegovina was part of the Eastern bloc of Yugoslavia and is still in many ways recovering from a deadly three-year war that broke out following the collapse of the bloc in the early 1990s. While it is an independent country, Bosnia and Herzegovina continues to be partially under the oversight of the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords, which set up two separate entities - the Bosniak-Croat Federation and Bosnian-Serb Republic, both overarched by a federal government and rotating presidency. This has created a great divide between the Serbian and Croatian Bosnians.

This divide is reflected in the press, which operates relatively freely and under the safety of freedom of reporting and speech.