Women and girls living inside Syria continued to face discrimination and exclusion, economic deterioration, high levels of insecurity and GBV in almost all walks of life in 2020. According to Voices report 2021, Economic deprivation, combined with the psychosocial impact of living with conflict for 10 years, have led to not just an increase in violence against women and girls, but also the continued normalization of violence across society. In addition to IPV and family violence against girls, especially by their brothers and fathers, forms of GBV that continue to affect the daily lives of women and girls in Syria in 2020 included sexual harassment and sexual violence, including in places of detention and within the context of kidnapping.
According to HNO 2021 : Armed conflict, economic deterioration, displacement and the COVID-19 crisis all have a gendered and disproportionate impact on girls and women in Syria. This is manifested primarily through different forms of gender based violence (GBV), especially early/forced marriage, intimate partner and family violence, sexual harassment and sexual violence (including rape), denial of resources, emotional/psychological violence and physical abuse, in all walks of life.
Early marriage remains prevalent in all governorates, with 62 percent of communities mentioning that it is an issue for adolescent girls . Girls as young as 11-12 years old are married off, including for serial and/or temporary marriages, believing it will protect them and ease the family’s financial burden. In some locations, forcing girls to take hormones to hasten puberty, with a consequent earlier age of marriage and pregnancy, have continued to emerge and be addressed.
COVID-19: a new risk factor for GBV against this already difficult picture for women and girls in Syria that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic needs to be examined. Restrictions put in place to limit the spread of the disease severely affected employment and income, education, availability of services and freedom of movement in the context of the economic crisis. Worsening conditions across all of these areas, in turn, were linked to an increase in violence within the home, including IPV against women and violence against children.