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Domestic Violence in COVID-19 Lockdown: Palestinian Women Are Dying at an Alarming Rate

April 24, 2020
Illustration: Sarah Mazzetti/The Guardian

When asked about the seismic social and cultural changes pandemics have historically brought about, Yale Professor Frank Snowden, the world’s foremost expert on the history of epidemics, compared infectious diseases to mirrors that reveal us to ourselves. “Epidemics allow us to understand humanity and history. They touch the most intimate fibers of our human nature … They ask us questions of life and death and our attitude towards both. They ask us about our ethics. They show us if our world cares about the neediest people. Epidemics are like looking in the mirror of humanity,” Snowden said. Predictably, the COVID-19 pandemic has swept through nations and communities, revealing profound and often unpleasant truths about the social and cultural dynamics that informed every aspect of life before it, most notably in soaring domestic violence cases. In Palestine, femicide and violence against women, issues that have plagued Palestinian society for decades, are now becoming more pronounced. Eleven women have been reported killed since the beginning of 2020, six out of whom were murdered in coronavirus lockdown, according to Palestinian women’s rights activist Shatha Shiekh Yousef, spokesperson of Tal3at, an intersectional feminist movement….

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