Domestic violence cases have been on the rise around the world and recent studies are indicating that the pandemic may have exacerbated those numbers.
At the end of 2020, and still in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, experts cited social and economic pressure as a result of the stark increase in domestic violence homicides, NBC News reported.
Further research from last March up until August revealed that people were googling specific, and alarming, phrases about assaults on women. According to a study in The Journal of General Psychology, “How to hit a woman so no one knows” was researched during a Google search 163 million times— a 31% increase compared to 2019, MSNBC reports.
“I am going to kill her when she gets home” was looked up 178 million times and “how to control your woman” was searched 165 million times. The latter was researched 67% compared to the prior year.
Although it’s unclear the gender of the people searching these phrases, the percentage of violence toward women shows they are overwhelmingly the victims in most of these cases.
In contrast, the phrase “He will kill me” was typed into Google 107 million times, a shocking 84% increase from 2019. “Help me, he won’t leave” and “he beats me up all the time” were also both searched.
The pandemic forced many people to telework as offices closed their doors due to safety precautions. Prior to the pandemic, however, women outnumbered men in the workforce, a report from CNBC revealed.
Now, many women are finding themselves in violent situations. The World Health Organization reports that 1 in 3 women globally are subjected to violence, and younger women are more at risk.
Women, in general, are more likely to experience violence in their lifetime.
“Violence against women is endemic in every country and culture, causing harm to millions of women and their families, and has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said.
“But unlike COVID-19, violence against women cannot be stopped with a vaccine. We can only fight it with deep-rooted and sustained efforts – by governments, communities and individuals – to change harmful attitudes, improve access to opportunities and services for women and girls, and foster healthy and mutually respectful relationships,” Ghebreyesus added.
In April 2020, the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres spoke candidly about the increase in domestic violence cases during the pandemic as a result of stay-at-home mandates.
“We have seen a horrifying global surge in domestic violence,” Guterres said in a statement, according to HuffPost.
“For many women and girls, the threat looms largest where they should be safest: in their own homes. I urge all governments to make the prevention and redress of violence against women a key part of their national response plans for COVID-19,” he said.
Government officials have attempted to provide resources and aid to combat the number of domestic violence cases, as Blavity previously reported.
Members of Congress included nearly $45 million for family violence shelters and $2 million for the National Domestic Violence Hotline in one of the stimulus bills passed last year.
If you or someone you know has been abused, the National Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24 hours a day in more than 200 languages. Call 1-800-799-SAFE or text LOVEIS to 22522.