COVID-19 Pandemic: Rise in Online Sexual Abuse on Women and Girls

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Young Women Christian Association President, Mrs. Georgina Ariki.

BY JOY OFASIA

COVID-19 pandemic could lead to the rise of sexual abuse on women and girls in the workplaces through online platforms in the Solomon Islands, according to Young Women Christian Association President, Mrs. Georgina Ariki.

The COVID lockdown will have worsened the experience for many. In the country, women and girls are complaining of sexual abuse in workplaces through online platforms, highlighted Georgina during the recent International Day of the Girl (IDG) celebrations in Honiara.

The theme of the celebrated global event is ‘Freedom Online’ – which addresses the importance of online safety for girls. For 2020 the focus is ‘highlighting the harassment and abuse of girls and young women face on social media because it silences girls’ voices and it’s a barrier to their leadership.

She said that at times leaders’ including women leaders in authority, communities, responsible family members also can be a hindrance to young women and girls in exercising their leadership, lack of understanding of their rights, raising awareness of the challenges girls have to face and inability in identifying potentials, as girls do have the ability to learn from their mistakes and to do better next time.

“Change starts with a girl and it will take her for the next quarter of her life compared to an adult who has already completed half of her life span,” Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) President expressed.

In other parts of the world, the economic impact of the coronavirus could also lead to an increase in child exploitation and child marriage, unraveling years of progress. Due to the current pandemic, many girls are giving up their learning opportunities for marriage to alleviate the new economic hardship.

She said that the COVID-19 crisis – only one in eight countries worldwide have measures in place to protect women against social and economic impacts new data shows.

“According to the new data released recently by UN Women and UNDP from the COVID19 global Gender Response tracker shows that the social protection and jobs response to the pandemic has largely overlooked women’s needs,” she said.

President said therefore YWCA is supporting the work in developing our young girls and women in the Solomon Islands to reach their full potentials and live fulfilling lives.

“I believe that it is important for all girls and women safety and wellbeing that it is your reality in each day that you face living one day at a time,” Mrs. Ariki said.

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