-THE OTHER PANDEMIC-
The violence against women during the COVID-19 crisis in Mexico
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 many subsidies intended for associations fighting against gender violence. On the other hand, government campaigns to prevent domestic violence have been very limited since the onset of the crisis and what little has been achieved has been widely criticized by feminist activists campaigning against violence against women.
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 many to have mobilized to face this emergency situation, a second pandemic: that of 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
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.
Karla, is also a reflection of the strength a person can draw from in order to move forward. She 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. But when Mexico started to enter in the lockdown the government closed also all the legal area, so she couldn’t continue to work.
However, since the start of the pandemic, she has continued to regularly support the association on a voluntary basis.
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.