Two out of five women in South Asia have experienced partner violence, says World Bank


Washington: A staggering two out of five women in South Asia have experienced intimate partner violence and COVID-19 has worsened the situation, reported World Bank.

The report was put down by Faris Hadad-Zervos, World Bank Country Director for Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.

As per the report, 23 percent of women experience physical or sexual violence in Nepal. Nepal’s National Women Commission (NWC) received 885 calls related to domestic violence from April to June, twice compared to previous years.

“In Maldives, one in four women has experienced some form of violence during her lifetime. In Sri Lanka, the Women’s wellbeing survey states that 17 percent of women have experienced domestic violence, his report said.

“Women and children are more likely to experience violence within the four walls of their homes due to movement restrictions imposed during lockdowns. They are no longer able to step outside to seek assistance and support. Women were not able to leave their homes to call gender-based violence (GBV) hotline or access health or legal services,” Zervos mentioned in his report.

According to the National Child Protection Authority, reports of child cruelty have increased by 30 percent.

“Across all three countries, civil society organizations also report that lesbian and bisexual women and transgender people, who already faced stigma and discrimination before the pandemic, are now even more vulnerable to violence at home, including honour killings, “corrective” rape, conversion therapy, and forced marriages, ” he added in his report.

Zervos said that in recent years, the World Bank has stepped up its efforts to address GBV risks, through investments, research and learning, and collaboration with stakeholders, particularly in infrastructure, human development, and education projects.

In Sri Lanka and the Maldives, the World Bank supported the Ministry of Health, and its implementing agencies, to increase GBV psychosocial support and emergency medical services.

In Nepal, emergency COVID-19 health and education projects have joined efforts to develop explicit GBV prevention and child-protection response action plans. (ANI)