Asia Synod Report, 2020 by Obertina Johanis

In Asia, women still face gender-based violence, as well as structural barriers. This violence is experienced by women all over Asia. In Indonesia, there were 431,471 cases of violence against women in 2019, an increase of 6% from 2018. The most common form of violence against women is domestic violence, which accounts for many as 11,105 incidents or 75% of the total cases of violence. In Malaysia, violence against women also remains high. During 2018, there were more than 5,000 cases. In South Korea, research conducted by the Korea Women’s Hotline revealed that up to 50% of Korean women have been physically abused by their romantic partners at least once in their lives and almost 90% of the survey respondents reported having been either physically or emotionally abused by their romantic partners. Japan’s National Police Agency released data from 2018 showing 77,480 calls to local police related to domestic violence and gender-based matters.

In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, women are the most vulnerable group affected by the virus for many reasons. For example, women who work as health workers in hospitals and women who work in the informal sector, such as traders in traditional markets, have no choice but to continue working in public spaces during the pandemic. Women often missed receiving pandemic-specific assistance from government agencies or non-governmental organizations.

Women are also increasingly vulnerable to becoming victims of domestic violence during this public health crisis. There are many reports that say that during the pandemic, domestic violence has increased.

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One of the achievements in 2020 was the expansion of knowledge about violence against women and how to deal with it. In Indonesia, for example, more and more churches have training in handling gender-based violence. There is also an awareness of the need to build service centres for women victims of gender-based violence. Although up to now only six churches in Indonesia have service centres. In addition, the 16-day Campaign Against Violence Against Women is increasingly widespread.

* Full artile will be available in the next Women’s Letter 57. Coming soon!