Newsletter 2020 from Combatting Gender Based Violence Project
The Combatting Gender-Based Violence in Bangladesh (CGBV) Project, funded by the Government of Canada, has one driving goal: for all women and girls to be free of violence at home, at work and in public spaces.
It goes without saying that 2020 was a year that bore unrivalled challenges. As the world receded into lockdown, sectoral shocks triggered ripple effects across the globe, countries scrambled to urgently provide essential services to the billions impacted, and frontline workers braved the trenches; we had been forgiven for thinking that this was all enough to bear for one year.
Yet amidst it all, we witnessed a ‘pandemic within a pandemic’ (the Shadow Pandemic) that for some time remained silent or not enough discussed. Rates of GBV, particularly domestic and intimate partner violence, skyrocketed around the world. In Bangladesh, we witnessed an alarming increase in domestic violence cases and reports of rape cases. These notably aligned with areas where services were disrupted or challenging to reach.
To respond to this emergency and the new needs that emerged from the health crisis, the CGBV Project has attempted to promptly assess the situation through its partnership with the women’s movement and Grass Roots Organizations and put in place some interventions to respond to the crisis, while continuing to ensure Project implementation, when possible Providing psychosocial counseling support for those suffering mental health challenges, exacerbated by the extended periods of lockdown; our team also rolled out GBV prevention and response services through hotlines and functional referral mechanisms, raised awareness on COVID-19 and its effect on gender and GBV and provided immediate relief to GBV survivors facing dire circumstances. Read on to learn exactly how we overcame this extraordinary year.