Saint Lucia is a Tourism destination and the COVID-19 has had a very devastating effect on the tourism industry, but most importantly the thousands of women who work at the various resorts no longer have independent livelihoods as the resorts are closing down as travel restrictions take effect in Canada, USA, Europe, etc.
The Prime Minister’s address to the Nation did not include any relief or arrangement for gender based violence victims, special needs children or marginalized groups, therefore, women and children who do not have disposable income are left to fend for themselves in this crisis.
As women lose their jobs their partners threatens to throw them out onto the street if they cannot find a job to contribute to the bills, for women who are experiencing domestic violence, mandatory lockdowns to curb the spread of COVID-19 (the disease caused by the new coronavirus) have trapped them in their homes with their abusers, isolated from the people and the resources that could help them.
A growing number of callers to our organization’s line say that their abusers are using COVID-19 as a means of further isolating them from their friends and family, threatening to throw their victims out on the street and some are withholding financial resources and medical assistance.
The very way we are protecting people from the virus is impacting victims of domestic violence, we absolutely support the need to follow these measures of social distancing and isolation, we also recognize that it provides an opportunity for abusers to unleash more violence on their victims.
One out of three women in the world experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, according to the World Health Organization, making it “the most widespread but among the least reported human rights abuses.” But during times of crisis—the risk of gender-based-violence escalates.
Providing nonperishable foods, disposable diapers, wipes and medication to our clients is our most important concern at this time while continuing to provide support services via alternative medium to ensure their safety.