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Women seeking help from violence doubles in Mexico during the lockdown

According to the country’s largest network of shelters for victims of violence, the number of women and children seeking help at shelters for victims of violence has surged by more than 80% in Mexico during to the coronavirus lockdown.

The National Network of Shelters, which includes about 69 refugees across Mexico, also announced that the number of calls and texts it had received about family or gender-based violence had risen by 55% between March and June compared to a year ago.

“Women in Mexico are facing two pandemics: COVID-19 and family violence,” the group declared in a statement.

Representative Image, Image Credit: ANI

Wendy Figueroa, head of the National Network of Shelters explained that the constant time people are forced to together make already-aggressive men more likely to lash out, and the majority of women seeking help had already experienced some form of violence before the pandemic.

“COVID-19 awoke situations of violence that were camouflaged, hidden,” Figueroa said. “During this lockdown, the violence gets stronger.”

With families stuck at home under official lockdowns for months to try to limit the spread of the deadly virus, tensions over household chores coupled with economic fears, as nationwide job losses are increasingly escalating into violence.

Attacks against women have surged dramatically across Latin America during the pandemic according to the recent analysis.

Image credit STRINGER

Mexico, which has been gradually easing the nationwide lockdown which began at the end of March, confirmed this week that more than 40,000 people died from coronavirus, and therefore Mexico becomes one of the countries with the highest death tolls in the world.

Within the hard COVID-19 situation that Mexico is trying to control with many difficulties, the country is also home to 14 of the 25 countries with the world’s highest rates of femicide - when a woman is killed because of her gender, which claims the lives of a dozen women per day in Latin America, according to the United Nations.

In Mexico, government data shows that emergency calls reporting attacks on women jumped from January to April this year, doubling in 2020 compared to the cases reported within the same period last year.

Image credit Reuters/S. Perez, via DW

The National Network of Shelters declared that overall, the organisation had helped more than 20,000 people during the pandemic, including the help given through phone calls and social media, with an increase of 71% compared to the same period last year.

Nearly half of the calls and messages received by the group during lockdown had come from Mexico City, which has also been among the hardest-hit areas by the pandemic.

More than 500 children and adolescents received by the shelter network had been victims of sexual abuses, while four out of 10 women who sought help from the group had experienced physical violence, the group reported.

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