Washington, D.C. – The following is a statement from Eva Chalas, MD, FACOG, FACS, president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG):
“America’s obstetrician–gynecologists are proud to join in today’s day of action to speak out for victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) and sexual assault. It’s critical that we come together to support those living in unsafe conditions. Although IPV affects women of all backgrounds, some populations, such as women of color, pregnant women, and women with disabilities, experience IPV at higher rates.
“The isolation and quarantine that society has undertaken to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic has unfortunately exposed many women to violence, intimidation, and assault at home, where they should feel most safe. Rates of domestic and sexual violence have increased at alarming rates since the stay-at-home orders began and support programs and systems are struggling to respond. Moreover, survivors may face challenges accessing the support and programs on which they rely due to social distancing guidelines. Communities of color are disproportionately affected and face additional barriers to accessing needed services.
“On this important day of action, ACOG urges Congress to act swiftly to provide emergency funding for the programs authorized by the Violence Against Women Act, support culture-specific organizations serving survivors in communities of color, address the needs of survivors of sexual assault, and support tribal governments to provide services to survivors. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, this funding will help ensure that needed support and programs will reach survivors of IPV and sexual assault.
“Obstetrician–gynecologists know that their patients cannot be healthy if they are not also safe. We must come together as a country to support survivors of IPV and sexual assault. As women’s health physicians who work to help our patients access the resources and support they need, we call on Congress to do the same.”