Ms Royalty International Contestant
Shines Light on the
The Creative. May 07, 2021
Jo-Anne Bowie Alvarez tackles intimate partner abuse through education and advocacy
As a survivor of sexual assault and domestic violence, Miss Royalty International Contestant Jo-Anne Bowie Alvarez reminds us that Covid-19 has shown that we’re not always safe in our homes. The global pandemic has created what the United Nations has coined the “Shadow Pandemic,” with results of a recent global survey revealing how the pandemic has exacerbated the problem of domestic and sexual assault.
At the age of seventeen, Bowie was sexually assaulted and abused by an acquaintance. A year later, she again fell victim to partner abuse when an enraged ex-boyfriend cracked her rib and choked her as she tried fleeing in her car. During those times, Bowie says, she was unaware of the resources available for victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse, so her only recourse was to move to another state.
“People ask why women stay with abusive partners,” Bowie reminds us, “but often, this comes from a place of misunderstanding. The issue of domestic violence is complex and takes a psychological toll on its victims. You feel helpless and ashamed. You’re not always thinking clearly. Many times you don’t see a way out.” Adding to this complexity,
Bowie says, many victims have nowhere to go during this global pandemic. “But there’s
hope,” she says. “There are people working round the clock to help victims of domestic
violence, to get them shelter, resources, and counseling.”
Prior to the pandemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), over 10 million individuals were victims of domestic violence each year, with one in four women and one in seven men experiencing physical violence by their partners during their lifetimes and an astounding one in three women and one in six men experiencing some
type of sexual violence. Prior to the pandemic, advocacy and education programs had
influenced the rates of intimate partner violence with incidences declining in recent years by over 60%, but amidst Covid-19, we’re now seeing spikes in domestic violence across the globe.