COVID-19: Domestic Violence and the Lockdown

 

How women suffer in isolation and poverty

 

Article by Almedina Gunić, Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 4 April 2020, www.thecommunists.net

 

 

 

In South Africa gender-based violence has been reported 87,000 times since the beginning of the lockdown. [1] The numbers of reported cases have jumped up by 36 percent in Paris and 32 percent elsewhere in France[2]. At least 6 femicide have already taken place under the lockdown in Argentina [3] and 14 in Turkey. [4] These are just a few examples for a worldwide phenomenon which is nothing else but a dangerous threat to the health and lives of us women.

 

 

 

Neither home nor the streets are a safe place

 

 

 

The undemocratic lockdown measures are enforced in the name of safety against an infection with the new coronavirus. However, family and home are not safe places for many of us women. The World Health Organization reports that one third of women who have been in a partnership suffered from physical respectively sexual violence in their relationship. About 38% of murders of women worldwide are committed by a male partner. [5] These are numbers from the time before women were forced by state repression to stay at home.

 

In addition to the danger that women often face by their own partners or relatives, the lockdown strengthens the precarious situation. The police in India have beaten up people who were on the street after the lockdown was imposed. [6] The President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, gave order to police and army to shoot at anybody who violates the lockdown. [7]

 

These aggressive measures by the repression apparatus are a triple danger for women. First, they are forced to stay at home and to deal with their already violent partner. In addition to this, they are threatened to be beaten up or even killed by the police respectively army if they flee from the violence at home. Last but not least, their partners face violence by the repression apparatus which increases the possibility that they pass this violence to the women at home. However, the massive increase of violence which women currently suffer is just the first of many dangers to come.

 

 

 

Lockdown: a reactionary attack of the ruling class

 

 

 

The lockdown measures are imposed under the cover of fighting the virus but in reality these measures are used to abolish various democratic rights and to introduce increased surveillance technologies. The recession which already started in the end of last year will hit the global economy even harder because of the lockdowns. [8] Still, the bourgeoisie is happy to utilize the pandemic to blame the recession on the spread of the virus, distracting from the real reasons of the crisis which is the decaying capitalism. Now, any future event that harms the lives of us workers and oppressed will be explained by the bourgeoisie with inevitable consequences of the pandemic.

 

Billions of already poor people will fall below the poverty line (like it happened in 2008) and the ruling class will blame the virus for it. Millions will die because of misery and hunger and the ruling class will blame COVID-19. Hundreds of thousands of people will be injured or even killed by the repression apparatus and the ruling class will explain it by the necessity to fight the pandemic. In all of this, women will be the ones to suffer the most. Already today, more women than men live in poverty. [9]

 

We have seen in countries like South Korea that lockdown is not a necessity even under capitalist respectively imperialist rule. The COVID-19 death toll in South Korea is very low with 177 deaths in a population of more than 51 Million people because of free health screening and testing on a massive scale and strict isolation of infected people. [10] The virus is circulating since the 20th February but the South Korean government has not implemented any lockdown measures since. [11]

 

Although being an imperialist country with a limited number of hospital beds and intense care units, it is an excellent example that the lockdown is not a necessity and is even less effective than the combination of testing and consequent quarantine of infected people. Furthermore to support or even demand lockdown measures means to believe the ruling classes that the incredible current mobilization of forces is easier than the immediate mass production of proper test kits and the extension of the health sector.

 

It is a brutal reality that the measures implemented by the ruling classes under the name of fighting COVID-19 will most likely lead to more deaths than the virus would cause even without any regulations. To support a lockdown or even to demand it means to enable the evitable murder of so many workers and oppressed by something more dangerous than the virus: the bourgeoisie.

 

Women are already the first ones to suffer from these new forms of undemocratic attacks although they just have started recently. At least the increased numbers of violence against women up to femicide makes it more than clear: the most important task for all revolutionaries today is the fight against the capitalists and their undemocratic attacks. Oppose the lockdown, it literally kills us!

 

 

 

* * * * *

 

 

 

The RCIT has published numerous statements and articles on the COVID-19 crisis of which several have been translated into different languages. They are all collected at a special sub-page in our website: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/collection-of-articles-on-the-2019-corona-virus/

 

In particular we draw the attention of readers to these two documents:

 

COVID-19: A Cover for a Major Global Counterrevolutionary Offensive

 

We are at a turning point in the world situation as the ruling classes provoke a war-like atmosphere in order to legitimize the build-up of chauvinist state-bonapartist regimes

 

Manifesto of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 21 March 2020

 

https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/covid-19-a-cover-for-a-major-global-counterrevolutionary-offensive/

 

Act Now because History is Happening Now!

 

A call to all revolutionary organizations and activists to join forces against the global counter-revolutionary offensive under the cover of COVID-19

 

Open Letter of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 26 March 2020

 

https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/open-letter-act-now-because-history-is-happening-now/

 

 

 



[1] "More than 87 000 GBV complaints received during lockdown", SABC News, 3 April 2020, https://www.sabcnews.com/sabcnews/more-than-87-000-gbv-complaints-received-during-lockdown/

[2] "As domestic abuse rises in lockdown, France to fund hotel rooms  After the restrictions came into force, cases of violence against women have increased, including two murders." Al Jazeera, 31 March 2020, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/03/domestic-abuse-rises-lockdown-france-fund-hotel-rooms-200331074110199.html

[3] Argentina sees at least 6 femicides during coronavirus quarantine  A daughter of a victim doesn't blame the quarantine, but the system she says is not protecting women, by Natalie Alcoba, Al Jazeera, 1 April 2020, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/04/argentina-sees-6-femicides-coronavirus-quarantine-200401185419939.html

[4] Coronavirus: Fourteen women murdered in Turkish homes since lockdown. Women's rights groups call for greater protection for women and children amid fears that domestic violence could soar during Covid-19 pandemic, by Ragip Soylu, Middle East Eye, 2 April 2020, https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/coronavirus-women-murder-turkey-increase-domestic

[5] Violence against women, World Health Organization (WHO), 29 November 2017, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/violence-against-women

[6] Indian police use violence against lockdown offenders, Reuters, 25 March 2020, https://www.reuters.com/video/watch/idPqZx?now=true

[7] 'Shoot them dead': Duterte warns against violating lockdown  Warning from Philippine president comes after slum dwellers stage protests over lack of food amid coronavirus crisis, Al Jazeera, 2 April 2020, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/04/dead-duterte-warns-violating-lockdown-200401164531160.html

[8] See on this e.g. Michael Pröbsting: No, the Corona Virus is not the Main Cause of the Global Economic Slump! Bourgeois Media Officially Recognize the Beginning of another Great Recession, 3 March 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/corona-virus-is-not-the-main-cause-of-global-economic-slump/; Chapter “Another Great Recession has begun“ in RCIT: World Perspectives 2020: A Pre-Revolutionary Global Situation. Theses on the World Situation, the Perspectives for Class Struggle and the Tasks of Revolutionaries, 8 February 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/world-perspectives-2020/; Michael Pröbsting: Another Great Recession of the Capitalist World Economy Has Begun. The economic crisis is an important factor in the current dramatic shift in the world situation, 19 October 2019, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/another-great-recession-of-the-capitalist-world-economy-has-begun/; see also Michael Pröbsting: The Next Looming Great Recession. Observations on the Latest Stock Market Slump and the Structural Crisis of the Capitalist World Economy, 12 October 2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/the-next-looming-great-recession/

[9] Why the majority of the world’s poor are women, Oxfam International, https://www.oxfam.org/en/why-majority-worlds-poor-are-women

[10] South Korea, Coronavirus Cases, Worldometer, update 4 April 2020, https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/south-korea/

[11] See on this e.g. Almedina Gunić: No, most likely it is not COVID-19 that is going to kill you. A manageable epidemic became public enemy number one distracting from the real killers, 16 March 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/no-most-likely-it-is-not-covid-19-that-is-going-to-kill-you/