BIG DATA SHOWS STEEP RISE IN DOMESTIC ABUSE SEARCHES IN PANDEMIC
ONLINE searches relating to domestic abuse have risen significantly in the Philippines between October 2019 and September 2020, according to the United Nations Women (UN Women).
In the report titled, “Covid-19 and Violence against Women: The Evidence behind the Talk,” UN Women partnered with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and analytics company Quilt.ai and determined that these online searches surged 63 percent in the Philippines.
These online searches included specific references to “men hitting women,” “spouse abuse,” “boyfriend hit me,” and “controlling men” or “controlling husband.”
“The so-called ‘shadow pandemic’ of violence against women and girls under lockdown is widely recognized by now, and this analysis proves what we have long anticipated,” said Mohammad Naciri, Asia-pacific Regional Director of UN Women.
“This analysis of big data now gives us a better picture of exactly what different women need most urgently, and how all support agencies—government, privatesector, international organizations and civil society—can improve the ways they reach out to these groups,” Naciri added.
In the Philippines, the study noted that the online volume between April and September 2020 grew for search queries such as “how to stop domestic violence,” “being raped,” “sexual assault,” “Owwa [Overseas Workers Welfare Administration] helpline,” “whipped with belt,” and “emotionally abusive husband.”
The data showed searches per 100,000 people for violence against women and girls (VAWG) in the Philippines reached 1,048, the third highest among the countries included in the study.
The highest was in Singapore at 6,299 and Malaysia at 2,396. India was a far fourth at 612 online searches per 100,000 people; Nepal, 463; Indonesia, 232; Bangladesh, 178; and Thailand, 175.
Help-seeking searches related to VAWG increased 10 percent in the Philippines since Covid-19. The average search volume for help-seeking keywords reached 1,735 since the pandemic.
Meanwhile, data also showed the number of Tweets with misogynistic language between October 2019 and October 2020 in the Philippines increased 953 percent. The highest was in Thailand at 22,384 percent.
However, the percentage change in Tweets with references to support for victims of violence, between October 2019 and October 2020, declined in the Philippines.