INCREASED RISK OF FGM DURING COVID-19
It’s easy to feel like COVID-19 is the only thing we can focus on right now. While communities around the world are responding to the widespread threat of the pandemic, they are less likely to pay attention to FGM. Unfortunately, this comes at a time of increased risk to women and girls. Social distancing and movement restrictions are making it difficult to fight, track, and respond to FGM and other forms of gender-based violence. Can we tackle more than one big crisis at a time? We can and we must. Because women and girls across the world will depend on it.
HOW IS COVID-19 PUTTING WOMEN AND GIRLS AT A HIGHER RISK OF FGM?
Many anti-FGM activities, such as community dialogue and sensitization programs, have been put on hold at a time when women and girls do not have the social support they might normally have to protect themselves from FGM. The pandemic is also putting a strain on adequate and timely medical intervention, putting FGM victims at risk of bleeding to death at home. The physical and psychological impact of FGM puts survivors at a higher risk of sexual violence, which is already on the rise during social distancing lockdowns in homes across the world. Incidences of rape, which increase drastically during emergency situations like the one we face now, can be especially dangerous and physically traumatizing for women who have undergone FGM. Experts say the specific physical and psychological complications associated with pregnancy and childbirth in young girls - particularly for those who have undergone FGM - are likely to be aggravated further by this pandemic. Furthermore, FGM survivors who give birth during lockdown are at an even greater risk of death than normal, particularly in areas where there is reduced access to trained birth attendants or medical professionals.
DURING LOCKDOWN AND BEYOND,
EVERY GIRL IN EVERY HOME SHOULD BE SAFE FROM FGM.
What is your government doing to protect girls from FGM and other types of abuse during lockdown and beyond?
Are members of your local police and medical community prepared to respond to higher incidences of FGM and its complications during this time?
Are there NGOs or activists communicating with your community about the higher risk of FGM?
If you know someone who is at risk of FGM, do you have a local hotline to call?
Show your support for survivors, activists, and every young girl at risk of FGM by asking questions like these and wearing and sharing the NoFGM Ribbon.