Since October 2109, Idea Dignidad, provides legal and psychosocial advice and support, through which it seeks to increase the conditions of protection of the dignity and rights of people affected by violence by government authorities, during the national strike lived in October 2019. We carry out this accompaniment both for people and for the main affected communities. We have focused on psychosocial recovery and legal advice with the aim of demanding reparation. This work is carried out in various areas on the periphery of Quito, in Pichincha and eastern Ecuador. The psychosocial effects of isolation and the COVID-19 pandemic are now added to the damage suffered during the strike. In the context of the current situation of COVID-19, the attention of cases to women and families with sons and daughters has been carried out mainly by virtual means and by telephone. Due to the mandatory isolation by COVID-19, decreed in Ecuador since March 16, violence against women, as well as against children, has increased, due to the increased time spent living with their aggressors. In addition to physical violence, the recurrent forms of psychological violence are, for example, situations of coercion, devaluation, disqualification for having lost a job, for having physical or psychological ailments or ailments, constituting the family environment in an environment of aggression and not in a space of mutual support. Inequalities in family responsibilities have also increased, since confinement alone does not generate a redistribution of tasks by gender and it is women and girls who historically have carried out the work of caring for sons, daughters, husbands, partners permanent, elderly, grandchildren, people with disabilities, etc.
As is known, also the majority of cases of abuse and sexual violence against women and girls occur in the family environment, in such a way that the context of impunity derived from the precarious capacity of institutional judicial assistance or foster homes during the isolation is increased. This sexual violence, the economic recession and the limitations to access contraceptives suggest that the rate of unwanted pregnancies will also increase, in adult women and in girls and adolescents.
The economic situation of families whose subsistence depended on informal work is also a risk factor, since leaving during isolation carries legal sanctions (fines and arrests) and not doing so increases the precariousness of income and economic dependence of their aggressors (couples or ex-partners). Likewise, the rate of payment of alimony has decreased during the pandemia, according to the SUPA data, which again affects the exercise of rights and the well-being of children. It is also expected that the negative impact of these risk factors will continue even after the end of the isolation measures, since distancing brings similar restrictions to the current ones, and it is difficult for the economic system to reactivate in the short term or, that institutionality overcome the structural gaps and limitations that it already had before the pandemic.
Despite this panorama, there are women who gain strength and go to social organizations and justice institutions to denounce and recover from the violence that affects them or their sons and daughters, however, most of them do it as an individual exercise of rights, supported by few people in their environment and by some institutions specialized in violence such as Idea Dignidad. The assistance that will continue to be provided will be direct to the victims, by virtual means during the isolation and in person as soon as security measures allow it.