-THE OTHER PANDEMIC-

The violence against women during the COVID-19 crisis in Mexico

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Rising levels of stress, economic, food insecurity and isolation due to Covid-19, have dramatically increased levels of domestic violence in Mexico and require immediate action to protect women and children at risk. Calls to shelters, reporting violence have increased by 60 to 80% and asylum requests in these spaces have increased by 30%, according to the Red Nacional de Refugios. However, the level of domestic violence remains today underestimated by the government, which considers the facts as non-priority in the current situation. The context is such that, since the start of the confinement, the government of President AMLO has removed numerous subsidies intended for associations fighting against gender violence. Thus, many organizations and associations have had no other choice than to act on their own to respond to this health crisis and support women at risk. Social workers, activists, lawyers and psychologists ... are numerous to have mobilized to face this emergency situation. 

The aim of this report is to give visibility to facts that the government refuses to consider, while highlighting the hard work of many social workers in the midst of a health crisis. By following the daily shelter for battered women, the psychological help for women victims of violence and aggressive men as well as the intervention of the gender police, this report offers a look at the second pandemic that affected Mexico: violence against women.

HIGHLIGHTING THE FACT 

POLICIA DE GENERO NAUCALPAN - EDOMEX

To respond to gender violence in cities classified as red alert for violence against women, the gender police was created in March 2016, composed of psychologists, lawyers and social workers, this a special unit is formed to respond situations of gender and family violence. Since the start of the Corona virus pandemic, domestic violence has increased considerably. In the city of Naucalpan, listed in the Red Alert on gender violence, the gender police specializing in violence against women intervene with the support of the C4. The C4 is the Control and emergency call center of Naucalpan. Since the start of the pandemic, calls for help for domestic violence have increased by more than 30% in just one month.

UNDERSTANDING THE ACTIONS 

 THROUGH THE PORTRAIT OF SOCIAL WORKERS

KARLA

Karla was an ex victim of domestic violence, 4 years ago she enter on a center of help for women at risk and victims of domestic violence named APIS. There she received the support to finish a studies in right. After being graduate an went out of her risked situation with her ex-boyfriend, she could start her carrer as lawyer. Without a lot of experiences it was difficult for her to find clients, it’s the reason why the same center APIS, offer her in January 2020 an opportunity to help other women victims of domestic violence giving them an legal attention. 

TANIA

Tania is the Director of the APIS Center Foundation for Equity, who receive women at risk and victims of domestic violence in Mexico city. When the COVID-19 pandemic began to hit Mexico, Tania had to find quick and effective solutions to help women at risk. She therefore took it upon herself to receive donated to redistribute them to women beneficiaries.
She also set up psychological attention via videoconference allowing victims to be supported by avoiding moving amidst the outbreak of the coronavirus disease COVID-19. Support that she has been following for more than 10 years with the support of her husband, himself a psychologist in the APIS center.

CYNTHIA

Coordinator of the Fortaleza external attention center since 2018. After studying child psychology she decide to focused on gender violence. Since the start of the pandemic, Cynthia has worked tirelessly to support the new victims in the refuge.

JIMENA

Coordinator of the women's shelters Fortaleza

-APIS- Center Foundation for Equity


To illustrate the hard work of many social workers in the midst of a health crisis, I turned my attention to the APIS Centre Foundation for Equity. This center of external attention receive women at risk and victims of domestic violence. There a psychological and legal assistance is then provided to them. Amidst the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19),  the team of the center has to readapt their assistance and started to attends by video calls the patient who accuses her partner of domestic abuse. In the same times APIS focused his work on receives donated to redistribute them to women beneficiaries. The center is open twice a week to provide a protective space for women beneficiaries. Tania Robledo Banda, lawyer and head of the APIS, has been accompanied by her husband, Daniel Ramirez psychologist for the center. Since the start of the pandemic they have worked hand in hand and relentlessly to tirelessly to find solutions for women in need.

-FORTALEZA -
Comprehensive care center for women I.A.P

When the situation becomes too risky for abused women, there is a final escape route: shelters for battered women. Following augmentation of domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic many women have had to take refuge in them. Indeed, since the begining of the pandemic calls to shelters reporting violence have increased by 60 to 80% and asylum requests in these spaces have increased by 30%, according to the Red Nacional de los Refugios. Each user of the refuge is held for 3 months without the possibility of leaving the center for their protection. The Fortaleza is one of them. This shelter is a temporary protective space for women and their children who are forced to flee their homes due to domestic violence. In this confidential refuge, each woman has access to emotional and practical support, workshops, reintegration plan, training, psychological and medical support ... In a spirit of mutual aid in the face of mistreatment, social workers and beneficiaries are linked to share their experiences and thus be able to move forward.

 

-HOMBRES POR LA EQUIDAD -

Since June 2005 the association Hombres Por la Equidad, researching and building methodologies that deepen the participation of men in the gender perspective, the studies of masculinity, and the construction of strategies to stop male violence against women. Also this association, made up of ten members, has taken it upon itself since the start of the confinement to provide a free support group for violent men. Twice a week the men meet by video conference to talk about their excess of aggressiveness, accompanied by a psychologist, they learn to channel their anger in order to avoid domestic violence.


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