A year ago, I started to write about my experiences on my blog Women Wheel. I have written on variety of topics. At times, I can’t do all I have planned for the blog; however, I continue to enjoy the moments I sit to type out my thoughts. I continue to learn and challenge myself to report on topics that I am not familiar with by researching, asking, and reading.
Another autumn is here, thus it’s cold and dark, so I will grab my cup of tea, coffee, or a glass of wine, and quilt before I sit at my cosy spot to keep up with my writing.
Thanks to all my readers. If you have any ideas of topics you want to read about, I will be glad to hear from you.
Today is my 15th, day of self-isolation in the north of Europe. After a long dark, gray, gloomy autumn and odd winter, spring is finally here. We now have sunny and longer days with a strong desire to be outside enjoying it. But, unfortunately, that is not the scenario since we need to be indoors and take care of ourselves because of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, which is a worldwide pandemic.
During these months of the crisis, a lot of people are working to give us services that we need. Among these are health professionals, public workers, social workers and others. Thanks to their great work plus our self-awareness, we are coping with the crisis.
I would like to highlight in these lines the work and situation of 3 different groups of women that are living with this crisis:
Women at home (mother, wife, partner)
The hashtag #Stayhome had become very popular on social networks to raise awareness for people to stay indoors to reduce the spread of the virus. However, home is not a safe place for many women who experience gender violence at home.
“During this COVID 19 crisis, domestic violence is on the rise. “Code grays” (situations where a hostile visitor and/or patient needing security intervention) and “code emergency department lockdown” (police escort hostile individual from hospital premises) are noted more regularly during this pandemic. Front line health care providers are here to provide a holistic approach of care”, said a friend who is an ER nurse working Upstate New York, United States of America.
The campaign against gender violence titled Mascarilla-19 (mask-19) is being implemented in Spain where women under gender violence can go to the pharmacy and say: I want a mask-19, in that case, the seller will know and call for help.
A lot of mothers are currently doing remote work, and so are their children studying, from home. So, for these moms, a time off for them to relax can be nullified or reduced.
Another factor for these women is space at home. It is recommended that everyone has their space to work, study, or chill out. But the reality can be another since home space is reduced for many families. My friends that are moms have commented that it is “not an easy road”.
For single women there are advantages of not dealing with spousal, partner, or children tension in these moments of crisis. But the challenge may rely that a single woman may fall into depression and a state of loneliness due to the fact of self-isolation for a long period of time. Therefore, it is crucial that a single person receive the necessary support by a simple phone call, text message or via social media.
Domestic workers and cleaners
Regardless of the danger, they face many needs to continue working for an income since in many cases they are single mothers, immigrant women, and are from an impoverished class.
In many countries, they are not protected by the labour law, they don’t have suitable equipment, don’t have basic cleaning supplies (especially for this crisis), get a lot of sexual harassments, and more.
In Spain for example, the Servicio Domestico Activo- SEDOAC (Active Domestic Service) along with other women organizations are campaigning to be aware to “take care of whom takes care of you”.
A friend of mine who works during her free time as a nurse (she is currently a student in Finland) told me that she had her first encounter with a patient who tested positive for coronavirus. She did her job and used all the precaution equipment. I think that is a brave action.
Even though it is a critical situation, for her, it is more positive to work out rather than sitting at home. However, after being with the patient, she manifested being worried and having post-panic thoughts.
A story like this is what thousands of nurses and doctors are living day by day worldwide to battle the virus.
All these women and others are heroines in all the countries affected by the virus. The question is how are they coping after their working shift and going home to their family, or being alone, Are they getting any advice, psychological help, support group etc.?
In many countries, citizens daily go to their balcony and applaud these brave women and men. I would say keep it up. But also health care providers need the government and health organizations to provide them with the necessary equipment’s to protect themselves better of contracting the Covid-19 virus.
When and how is this going to end? It Is uncertain. But it is clear that we are going to have a post-pandemic world crisis, there will be a severe impact on business, sports, culture, education, climate, and human being behaviour; for example, greeting with a kiss or shaking hands probably will be stopped. These bigger scenarios will have other implications in our society that probably we do not even imagine.
So, the next time you want to leave your house without any strong argument, please think about the thousands of women and men that daily are leaving their loved ones or using their time to serve us. They are human beings and, therefore, need our help.
From Dubai to Chile women took the streets to demand an end to violence against women. Three stories of violence.
Text by: Shirlene Green Newball Photo by : Kimmo Lehtonen
My phone rang and I saw it was a loving friend calling, so I picked up. On the other side, I heard her sad and weeping voice saying: “He hit me and I had the baby in my hand”. She was referring to her partner and father of her child. I was mad since I also had my experience in my teen.
When I arrived at her house I saw a bruise on her left cheek. We sat down and she told me her outrage violence story. She decided not to press charge against him, which was unacceptable to me, but I knew I had to respect her decision and just let her know that I was there to support her. And so I did.
Gender-based violence forms can be physical, psychological, sexual, economic, and others carried by individuals and states. Every day hundreds of women and girls around the world live it, so my friend’s case was not an exception.
According, to the Global Study on Homicide 2019: Gender-related killing of women and girls research published in July by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in 2017, a total of 87,000 women were killed intentionally from which, 50,000 were killed by an intimate partner or relative, meaning that 137 women were killed daily by a family member. This act of killing a woman is known by international organizations, some governments, academic, and women movements, as femicide.
The study also highlights the total women murders by continent; Asia being the continent with the largest number fallowed by Africa and the Americas.
Since I became an activist, every 25thof November, I participate in manifestations on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Historically, this day is based on 1960, when Dictator Rafael Trujillo assassinated the three Mirabal sisters in the Dominican Republic.
My friend was at home in her porch when the episode occurred, which confirms that our home is not a safe place for us, but so are the streets, public transportations, and social media channels.
Can you imagine that in Granada, Spain, during the manifestation on Monday (25 November) a group of girls was attacked by a man with a knife? This act is insane and ironic. Why did he attack women in a protest against violence? Is it because of hate speech, superiority or misogyny? What is clear is that someone almost got injured because of these extreme thoughts.
Currently, the media and the Internet are spaces that lead to a lot of contents of violence against women.
Do you remember the ridiculous attack Greta Thunberg faced during her visit to the United States of America in September? This teenage activist raising awareness about climate change was attacked tremendously on national television and social media by the right party. The accusations were crazy, from the way she dresses, her hairstyle, her whiteness, etc.
On the 23rd of September during the broadcast of Fox News, Michael Knowles called her “a mentally ill Swedish child”.
Another ridiculous statement came from Laura Ingraham, the Fox News host who called Greta’s United Nations speech as “chilling”, with a head title saying, “Climate change hysteria is changing our kids”.
Since social media plays an important role in being informed and active today, my friends and I got caught in this discussion. One of my friends was so tired of answering that it occurred to her we needed a strategy to continue, so she started to tag others in her answers with the purpose of getting support of our statement against the furious women and men attacking Greta and all her supporters.
Gender-based violence has increased over the years. As women, we all are exposed to attacks any day. So it is not only the on 25thof November that we need to remember this, it is every single day.
The strategies women create to counteract violence may seem foolish for some people. However, whatever you invent to protect yourself, make sure that it is effective and of great help to you.
My friend was brave to call me and tell her story, but unfortunately, not every woman does it because they are scared and ashamed. From my experience and my friend’s, it is better to break the silence, look for help, go to a shelter home and press charges. Remember you are not alone and there is always support.