The Global Pandemic of Violence Against Women
On April 6th, UN Secretary General António Guterres announced that the world had seen a ‘horrific surge’ in cases of domestic violence due to the quarantine measures and economic uncertainties caused by COVID-19.
Yet, as the WHO has previously reported that 1 in 3 women will experience physical, psychological, or sexual violence from an intimate partner in their lifetimes, and given the global popularity of the #MeToo movement, it is clear that violence against women has been its own global pandemic for a long time.
(Source: “Global Report Highlights Impact of Violence on Women’s Health.” World Health Organization, 2013, www.emro.who.int/media/news/global-report-violence-women.html.)
Mexican artist Monica Mayer understood this when she started her “El Tendedero” interactive art installation project in Mexico City in 1978, as the second wave feminist movement began to flourish in her country.
She wanted to transform a traditionally feminine space of labor, a clothesline (“El Tendedero” in Spanish), into a site of agency where individuals could share their experiences regarding violence against women and generate a community discussion on this important issue. They would write their anonymous responses on a card and pin it to the clothesline.
Since then, various “El Tendedero” installations have been created across the world, including here in Japan.
As the world endures a global state of emergency, we are able to see more clearly the realities of inequality that undermine justice and societal well-being. As with all things, these inequalities are also gendered.
Therefore, we invite and urge you to help us raise awareness, spread the message, and take a stand against violence here in Japan by participating in our online El Tendedero.
Our online ‘El Tendedero’ will be posted here, so that you may understand and empathize with the experiences of others.
**Most importantly** if you or anyone you know is a victim of violence, please refer to this comprehensive list of resources in Japan (in English and Japanese) to seek help.
This is a trying time for the world, but even in times of national emergency, especially then, we must raise the voices of the vulnerable to ensure safety and justice for all.