Sisterhood Agenda

Domestic Abuse During a Pandemic

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Cases of domestic abuse have gone up ever since the lockdown started in March 2020 when the COVID-19 started spreading, both in the U.S. and Europe.  Why did this occur and how can women stay safe, even in their own homes?

Rising abuse

In the U.S. alone, Houston police received about 300 more domestic violence calls in March 2020.

In North Carolina, there were 517 additional reports on domestic violence in the month of March, indicating an 18 percent increase.

Out of 22 law enforcement agencies, 18 of them reported an increase in reports on domestic violence.

In Europe, as per the United Nations data, there was a 30% increase in domestic violence in France and an 18% increase in Spain.

Domestic violence shelters are at full capacity and several non-profit shelters postponed fundraisers due to the lockdown.

Photo Credit: Lum3n, Pexels

Unique challenges

Due to isolation, COVID-19 has heightened ongoing problems for victims of domestic violence.

Unfortunately, most victims are getting abused in front of their children and too often, the children are also victims of assault and violence, according to Steve Mueller, Sheriff of Cherokee County, South Carolina.

A major trigger for domestic abuse during a pandemic world crisis is financial stress.

With schools and businesses forced to close, a lot of people are financially challenged and everyone is at home together.

To make matters worse, these are just reports of victims who are able to ask for help.  Many victims are unable to do this because they are with their abusers 24/7 who are monitoring their every move.

We wrote an article years ago that could offer you comfort if you are facing domestic abuse.

Women are the ones most affected during a crisis or a disaster. When people lose income and are isolated, violence increases and women are typically the victims.

Since people can’t go outside, victims are forced to deal with their abusers all day indoors.  Conflicts can grow bigger and more frequent, like a ticking time bomb.

Domestic abuse isn’t always about physical abuse.  It includes emotional, financial, and psychological abuse.

Photo Credit: Craig Adderley, Pexels

Here are some major signs of domestic abuse:

  • Your partner damages your self-esteem by telling you you can’t do anything right and you’re not good enough
  • He is constantly jealous of everyone
  • He keeps you away from your friends and family
  • Insulting you is one of his frequent habits
  • He doesn’t allow you to spend any money, yours or his
  • You are not in control of your money and he takes your money by force
  • Your abuser constantly controls your freedom
  • You are not allowed to make decisions in the household
  • You are constantly living in fear and you receive threats from him
  • He threatens you with sharp or deadly weapons
  • You are being forced to have sex

What can you do when you are a victim of constant domestic abuse?

Pay attention to the red flags. 

  • Learn the triggers that make your partner angry and violent. Pay close attention to signs when he’s about to explode in anger.  Have an escape plan when you see anger building.
  • When this happens, don’t stay in the same room with him (if possible).
  • Even before an argument starts, look for the safe areas in your home. Avoid enclosed spaces, corners, and the kitchen. If it starts, go to a room with an exit, or access to the garage.
  • Even if the community is on lockdown, be ready to call the cops and keep a number of a nearby shelter.

Here’s the National Domestic Violence Hotline (800-799-7233).

  • Put the number of a trusted friend or your family on speed dial and establish a code. For example: If you just ring them without really talking then they will know to call the cops.
  • Just in case you lose your phone, put the list of your emergency contacts on a piece of paper and hide them in the safe place in your house, such as the garage.
  • If possible, keep a second phone for emergencies.

During a lockdown is probably one of the most complicated times to handle domestic abuse.  Keep in mind that there is hope.

No one deserves to experience abuse of any kind. We hope that you find this article helpful.

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