Confronting the Shadow Pandemic

The global lockdown, triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, is creating an environment likely to increase the incidence and severity of violence against women and girls (VAW/G).

Even as confinement and restriction of movement foster tension, distress, and worries for everyone, they trap women with abusive partners who wield the power to control their lives; too often, women are unable to access resources and support systems because many of the organizations dedicated to helping victims of violence are unable to operate.  The economic fallout and the additional demand for services combine to force shelters for victims of domestic violence scramble to find ways to stay open even as many operate near capacity.

The global upsurge of VAW/G prompted Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women to declare it a “shadow pandemic” that must be urgently addressed. UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called for all governments “to make the prevention and redress of violence against women a key part of their national response plans for COVID-19.”

Facing this shadow pandemic, each of us, from individuals to communities to governments, from the private sector to civil society to police and justice services, has a responsibility to act.

Against the background of this hidden pandemic of horrifying scale, the International Women’s Convocation (IWC) remains committed to protecting and supporting women and girls.

Addressing gender-based violence is a priority for IWC. Its violence prevention and awareness programs operate with on-the-ground partners in the Khasi and the Jaintia Hills (India), Transylvania (Romania), and in UU communities in the Philippines. Just this year, those programs have been extended to include Hungary and Bolivia. In this crisis, our awareness and advocacy are more important – and urgent – than ever.

Your support is vital to ensure that our awareness programs and advocacy continue. Please donate to IWC so that we can sustain our efforts VAW/G programs. An extraordinary time requires extraordinary solidarity and action. Please join us!

Check out this video focusing on the ongoing collaboration with the Unitarian Women’s Association of Romania (UNOSZ), including violence awareness and prevention programs!  This is the first in the series dedicated to our milestone anniversary.


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