About 94 percent of Rohingya women living in Cox's Bazar, who have reported incidents of gender-based violence (GBV), have experienced it at the hands of their partners, says a new study released by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) today.
Initial IRC data between June and December 2019 indicated that 81 percent of women who reported GBV had experienced domestic violence, it said.
Alarmingly, new IRC analysis shows that this figure has risen to 94 percent between January and October 2020, as the effects of the shutdown were fully realised.
Following the onset of Covid-19, shutdown measures were introduced in Cox's Bazar that confined many women to their shelters, often shared with their abusers, IRC said in a statement released today.
Rozana Majumdar, IRC Bangladesh Women's Protection Coordinator, said, "The effects of the pandemic will be long lasting for women in Cox's Bazar. Alongside lockdown measures and concerns about Covid-19, they have also experienced shocking levels of violence.
"As services built to support women and girls depleted throughout lockdown, refugee women and girls have been left with nowhere to turn to escape the danger that they faced in their own homes.
"It is clear that this shadow pandemic of violence is going nowhere and it is critical that the government of Bangladesh designates all GBV response services as essential so that women and girls can be properly protected within Cox's Bazar," Rozana Majumdar said.