As COVID-19 strengthens its grip on all of us, people are encouraged to isolate themselves to avoid contracting the virus. Most worry that the changes to everyday life brought on by this pandemic (stay-at-home mandates, job losses and school closures) may worsen already strained relationships, leading to increase rates of domestic abuse.
In China, the number of domestic violence incidents has risen during the quarantine period. In US, National Domestic Violence Hotline has begun showing the same trend. The concern isn’t that quarantine will cause normally peaceful partners and parents to suddenly become abusive. But those who live with an abuser, no longer have scape (work, school or community activities). They are now going to spending days, weeks or even months in the presence of an abusive partner.
The financial strain people are experiencing right now creates an immense anxiety and emotional toll. Domestic violence is rooted in power and control. When an abuser loses that power control, they tend to take that out on the victims in their relationship. The income loss might also make it more difficult for victims to leave. Someone who has saved money in order to execute an escape plan may now be forced to use that cash in the face of job loss or a reduction in hours.
In this difficult time, we need to advocate for victims in any way we can. We need to listen. We need to check in. We need to be aware of the name of every organization that provides support to victims of abuse. And we need to be ready to provide that information when the victim asks for it.
If you are a victim, break the silence. Tell a trusted friend, a family member or someone who can help you with the abuse. Document the abuse by taking pictures of your injuries and try to get professional help. We are also always here to help so send us a message.