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The Silent Pandemic We Need To Talk About

Avon is helping raise awareness on domestic violence amid COVID-19 through its campaign, #IsolatedNotAlone

The COVID-19 pandemic has ultimately changed the way we live and has forced most people to keep safe and do what they can to help reduce the spread of coronavirus by staying home. But, for many survivors of gender-based violence, being in quarantine and staying home brings about a different kind of danger.



Avon appeals to the public to not to turn a blind eye on gender-based violence during COVID-19 Avon appeals to the public to not to turn a blind eye on gender-based violence during COVID-19 | Photo courtesy of Avon Philippines

Some of the unique impacts of the pandemic on victims are caused by the current situation emboldening abuses to exert control over them. The National Domestic Violence Hotline in the United States has identified the following issues that may arise:

  • Abusers may deny their victims essential and life-saving items like hand sanitizers, disinfectants, or even insurance cards.
  • They may also share misinformation about the pandemic to scare and control their victims, and even prevent them from going out of the house to seek medical help if they show symptoms.
  • Programs that serve victims may be significantly impacted as they buckle under funding pressure.
  • Victims may also fear entering shelters because of the possibility of being in close quarters with others as the threat of COVID-19 remains high.
  • Travel restrictions due to quarantine may impact a victim’s escape or safety plan.


Domestic violence is already an epidemic which is hidden behind closed doors,” says Angela Cretu, Avon CEO. “Like COVID-19, it’s a silent killer. We’re going to make sure those who are isolated know they are not alone. In addition to giving funds to NGOs, through the Avon Foundation For Women, our Avon teams will be donating vital products—from personal care to hand sanitizers and soaps—to refuges across the world.”


Institutions like the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) have sounded the alarm on the rising incidences of domestic violence during the pandemic, especially in a country where 3 out of 20 women and girls aged 15-49 have experienced physical violence, 1 out of 20 has suffered from sexual violence, and 1 out of 4 married Filipina has experienced spousal violence (based on the 2017 National Demographic and Health Survey). Given the new challenges victims must deal with in escaping their abusers and calling for help, these institutions are urging everyone to be vigilant and immediately report any form of abuse in their homes and communities. 


The case of the Philippines is part of a global pattern—a consequence of the pandemic and the lockdown orders that followed. It is for this reason that Avon is joining women’s organizations and advocates from all over the globe to appeal to the public to not turn a blind eye on gender-based violence during COVID-19. To further support grassroots efforts in securing the safety of vulnerable women, the Avon Foundation For Women has pledged $1 million to non-government organizations providing front-line services such as helplines and refuges, building on its 15-year commitment to help end violence against women and girls.


 In response to the spike in domestic abuse worldwide, Avon is also launching a communications effort among its five million representatives, their customers, and their communities all over the world. Isolated Not Alone focuses on raising awareness on domestic abuse amidst COVID-19; signposting where to go for help and how to identify and support those at risk; and calling on governments to support the provision of life-saving services, which are in danger of further funding cuts and de-prioritization.


In the Philippines, Avon is embedding emergency hotline numbers and other life-saving information into lifestyle content delivered digitally through local celebrities and digital influencers, so that women can access the support they need with reduced risk of exposure to abusers. Partner NGOs’ hotlines are also open 24/7 to accommodate victims with capacity-building programs for service providers, food and hygiene packs, and counseling and legal consultations.


“Empowering women is Avon’s long-standing legacy, and their safety is our priority,” says Razvan Diratian, General Manager of Avon Philippines. “As the community quarantine is extended in various regions here, the risk of women and children isolated with domestic violence abusers increases too. Please join us by speaking out if you know a friend or a neighbor who needs support.”


Spread the word and show your support for the cause by sharing it with the hashtag #isolatednotalone on social media. For more information, go to www.avonworldwide.com.




Should you have any information about anyone who may need support against domestic violence during the enhanced community quarantine, you may contact the following Avon NGO Partners:


Luna Legal Resource Center for Women and Children

https://www.facebook.com/lunalegalcenter/

(082) 306-5761


Gender Watch Against Violence and Exploitation (GWAVE)

https://www.facebook.com/GWAVEPhilippines/

(035) 422 84 05 | +63 915 259 3029 | +63 999 576 6679


Women’s Care Center Inc. (WCCI)

https://www.facebook.com/wcci.manila/ 

+63 999 577 9631 | +63 920 967 7852 | +63 917 825 0320 | (02) 8514-4104


ING MAKABABAYING AKSYON (IMA) Foundation

https://www.facebook.com/Ing-Makababaying-Aksyon-IMA-Foundation-131515322286/

(045) 323 4750