Violence against women and children is increasing around the world. AHA Foundation’s crisis text line is experiencing a spike in requests for help. You can make a difference.
Since many shelter-at-home orders began, AHA Foundation has seen an unprecedented spike in the number of requests for help coming through our crisis text line from girls and women in the U.S. facing honor violence and forced marriage. In April 2020, the number of requests for help increased six-fold, compared to the average number of requests for the months prior to the pandemic. The number of requests in April 2020 was the highest ever recorded.
As seen in past humanitarian crises, the risk of gender-based violence escalates. According to the United Nations Population Fund, this pandemic will intensify existing gender inequalities, and increase the risk of gender-based violence. The United Nations estimates that the COVID-19 pandemic could result in an additional estimated 2 million more cases of female genital mutilation over the next decade than would otherwise have occurred. They also predict that an additional 13 million more child marriages could take place by 2030 than previously projected.
While women and girls in developing countries are at the most risk from these dangerous practices, these abuses are also happening to girls in the U.S. Jenny, a survivor of FGM from Kentucky, shared her fears with us recently:
This would be a high-risk time for some girls because it is like a school holiday when often the risk is greatest for girls from families that believe in this practice. I have had sleepless nights thinking about the girls suffering in silence, even as I write this.
You can help. AHA Foundation’s free crisis text line is available 24/7 to individuals facing honor violence and abuse. Your gift today can have double the impact thanks to our Matching Gift Campaign. Every gift will be doubled until we raise $10,000. We are grateful to Bill Miller, our long-time supporter, whose pledge made this campaign possible.
If you are not in a position to send support now, please consider writing an encouraging message to a person at risk of honor violence. Your message will give hope and show those at risk that they are not alone. You can write a message here. Messages will be posted on AHA Foundation’s website and social media.