In 2020, there was a massive increase in the cases of sexual and gender-based violence reported all over the world as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown. The cases were higher in some places than they were in some other places and this was as a result of the lockdown measure put in place to contain the spread of Covid-19.
This measure to a large extent exposed vulnerable women and girls to different levels and forms of abuse as they were mostly trapped under the same roof with their abusers. Most of the victims could not access physical help due to the restriction placed on movement, the fact that there are no strong institutions that provide help for victims of sexual and gender-based violence and lack of information on the part of victims as regards where and how to report cases of abuse during a lock down. 80% of the cases reported to BCAI were not reported directly by victims but were reported by relatives, friends and well-wishers of victims who know our areas of focus. 2020 was a hard time for us as we kept hearing cases of women, girls and even minors that had faced abuse during the lock down without being able to physically help but in all of this, Bridge Connect Africa Initiative was able to handle 73 sexual and gender-based violence issues. We referred 52 to other organizations working on gender-based violence, provided psychosocial and legal support for 5 and provided counselling to 16 survivors all virtually.