Voices from Sudan 2020, a first-of-its-kind UN backed nationwide qualitative assessment of Gender Based Violence (GBV), published earlier this week, has revealed that the currently ongoing economic crisis and COVID-19 have led to an increase in domestic violence and forced marriage in Sudan.
Forced marriage and domestic violence are quite prominent according to the Voices from Sudan 2020 report.
Key concerns regarding domestic violence have been highlighted as physical violence in the home committed by husbands against wives, brothers against sisters, as well as movement restrictions females are subjected to.
The deteriorating economic condition and the COVID-19 pandemic have led to a surge in domestic violence and forced marriage in Sudan, the report mentioned, while instances of harassment in bread and fuel queues have also been reported.
Sexual violence, another concern, has been recorded against women who hold informal jobs, refugee and displaced women, individuals with disabilities, and children in Qur’anic schools.
The report also noted that harmful Female Genital Mutilation practices are also widespread, differing based on geographical and tribal affiliation.
However, the study has found that knowledge about the illegality and harmfulness of the practice has managed to reach the Sudanese community.
Restrictions and Limitations
When it comes to women’s access to resources, the report found out that financial resources and access to opportunities, especially education, are all controlled by men, with women’s access to the being severely restricted, penalizing girls over boys.
Pressure, be it verbal or psychological, aimed at forcing compliance with existing gender norms and roles is widespread, and in some cases has led to suicide.
The data obtained for the report has been described as” dramatically lacking” by the report itself due to the issue of nation-wide assessment of GBV “having not been done for the past 30 years”, in addition to a general lack of available qualitative and quantitative data.
However, the current context of increased openness by the Government of Sudan, and dynamism by civil society, opens opportunities for significant gains in advancing women’s safety and rights.”