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No Way Out: Being Isolated with Your Abuser in the Midst of a Pandemic

Updated: Jan 16

By Paige Inocencio:

Government authorities from all over the world have urged everyone to remain at home to ensure their safety however, this does not seem to be the case for victims of domestic violence.

As schools and businesses close down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, women and children are now struggling to escape the new reality of having to live with their abusers.

What is Domestic Violence

According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, domestic violence is a pattern of behaviors used by one person to maintain power and control over their child or partner. There are several kinds of domestic abuse namely: sexual, financial, emotional, spiritual, physical and social abuse. The most evident roots of domestic violence stem from childhood experience, drastic life changes, and financial situations.

Why Domestic Violence is Still Prevalent

Domestic violence is likely to happen in a household where husbands view their wives as possessions rather than people. This kind of thinking is heavily influenced by the concept of patriarchy — a system in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it. Domestic violence abusers also have a mindset that labels their victims as the perpetrators of the abuse in the first place.

How Domestic Violence Cases Have Risen since the Pandemic

In the early stages of the pandemic, calls to domestic violence hotlines increased in countries such as Spain, France, and Ukraine. It was clear that the lockdown served as an opportunity for abusers to assert their control over their victims.

A few weeks into the lockdown, domestic violence hotlines reported a sudden drop with calls made about domestic violence however, this is not something to be glad about either. It is likely that calls to domestic violence hotlines are down as victims are now unable to reach out for help.

The Effects of Domestic Violence on Women and Children

Victims of domestic violence suffer long-term effects of which are often linked to their mental health. Long-term effects of domestic violence against women include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), insomnia, eating disorders, depression, and more. On the other hand, children who have witnessed or have experienced domestic violence struggle with concerns such as low self-esteem, self-harm, emotional distress, and more.

Domestic violence abusers are the kinds of people who take pleasure in controlling the lives of others by means of isolating their victims and as a lockdown has been implemented nationwide, this proves to be an opportunity for abusers to harm their victims in a simpler way. Despite this, social workers, lawyers, and advocates are now much more motivated to help prevent domestic violence and a way you can help is by listening to someone’s experience and letting those around you know that you are there for them as this can create a huge impact on someone’s life.

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