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(en) France, Union Communiste Libertaire UCL - UCL press release, Domestic violence: The hassle for those who stay at home (fr, it, pt)[machine translation]

Date Thu, 2 Apr 2020 09:06:48 +0300

Whether they continue to work or whether they are at home, women are on the front line in the fight against the pandemic but also the first victims of the current health crisis. ---- The unequal distribution of tasks will not be resolved due to confinement. Remember, women perform a large majority of domestic tasks and childcare, including when they are in a relationship. In the case where both parents are teleworking, one can easily imagine how the tasks can be distributed among the couples where they are already taken care of by women the rest of the time ! The feedback from many teachers is formal: it is mainly mothers who contact them, ask them questions and follow up on homework. Added to this is the management of household tasks which does not leave much time to telework for those who can claim it !

In addition, single-parent families (with 82% of women at their head) are the first to be affected by poverty, and therefore many of them occupy substandard housing, too small (compared to the composition of the family) and poorly equipped to cope digital needs.

The risk of an explosion of violence against women ...
Widespread confinement represents an additional risk for those who experience violence within the couple.

Specialized associations, which support women victims of violence, sounded the alarm as soon as the confinement was announced. The absence of a moment of respite represented by the working hours outside the victims and / or the aggressors, living together continuously, will mathematically increase the number of acts of violence (whether psychological, physical or sexual). In a context of total isolation, where the key word is not to go out (and especially not with children), without the possibility of hiding to call associations, hotlines or the police, vigilance and intervention by the neighborhood are crucial. More than ever the eviction of the domicile of the violent spouse must be the rule to protect women but also children,

More than ever, the police and gendarmerie officers must be reactive when they are called for cases of domestic violence, especially in this period when taking refuge with a loved one is difficult or impossible.

In addition, social networks are teeming with testimonies from women with a violent ex-spouse: many are threatened with filing a complaint if they refuse to entrust their child (ren) to an ex who cannot receive them or transport them to appropriate safety and hygiene conditions. Some of them are bombarded with messages, calls and emails so that they derogate from the rule of not leaving the children, including when the father continues to work and therefore risks contaminating the children. This period is therefore a difficult time for these women whose exs are taking advantage of the situation to put pressure and try to keep them under control.

... And with regard to children and young people
Parental violence can also explode during the confinement period. For many children, school time is a time to breathe while escaping, even temporarily, from violence. School closings therefore mean that thousands of children are locked up permanently, for several weeks, with adult aggressors. In the same way, the closure of boarding schools and many university residences which can be a refuge for young people with family breakdown (due to violent, toxic parents ...) is a real hell. The same goes for many LGBTQI youth who are forced to return to their families who do not accept their identity or sexual orientation. Returning to the family represents a very high risk of violence.

The PJJ (acronym to be explained in the footnote) and ASE (idem) services are cracking down due to the lack of means and staff to welcome and follow up young people who are permanently vulnerable. They fear the tensions between these young people but also an increase in suicides among those in precarious and distressed situations.

For isolated minors, whether in homes or in diffuse housing, the lack of means is also glaring. In some homes, collective meals are no longer insured ; they have to manage to find food outside while the eating places are closed.

If confinement is necessary to slow the spread of the epidemic, it cannot be done without specific measures for the attention of women victims of patriarchal violence and young people in distress. Wherever possible, let us be vigilant and united so that this period of confinement is not unbearable for those who are already oppressed and abused.

Libertarian Communist Union, March 27, 2020

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