Even before the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, the home was a place of fear for many women and girls living in situations of violence. In Latin America, 70 percent of femicides occur in the victim’s home.
The quarantine and stay-at-home orders that governments adopted to address COVID-19 trapped many women with their abusers; evidence from early on in the pandemic reinforces the urgency of this issue. ORMUSA, or Organización de Mujeres Salvadoreña, in El Salvador reported 13 femicides in the first 6 weeks of quarantine between March 17 and April 29, 2020. In Argentina, 63 women and girls were killed because of their gender between March 20 and July 7. In the month of March 2020, 50 feminicides were recorded in just six states in Brazil. These statistics are alarming as the virus continues to spread across the Americas, raising fears that extended lockdowns will continue to exacerbate gender-based violence while governments struggle to address the twin public health crises.