The COVID-19 crisis is a destabilizing time, deepening social inequalities and increasing violence against women (VAW). This is also a moment of significant unpredictability and many are experiencing fear, anxiety, and anger as a normal response to these rapid changes. Certain groups are more vulnerable to pandemic-related hardships and consequences, including women, LGBTIQ people, people living with chronic illnesses and other disabilities, people reliant on daily wages,among others. Further, within the COVID-19 response, women providing essential services—from health care provision to cleaning to vendors in the market—are particularly impacted and at risk of violence. These vulnerabilities compromise our collective well-being, as individuals, organizations, and movements to prevent VAW. We recognize –and insist—on the importance of caring for ourselves and each other during COVID-19 as a political act that is integral to our social justice activism, resisting the patriarchal norms and other systemic oppressions that value certain people over others.
COVID-19 poses many safety risks for staff, organizational partners, and community members working to prevent violence against women. For many settings, it is likely that community mobilization activities will need to be suspended or substantially adapted during this time. Before continuing with any programming, it is essential to comprehensively assess potential risks in order to determine safety and feasibility.
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