The Coronavirus has been spreading across all regions of the globe like a wildfire; leaving a significant number of dead people behind, saturating health facilities, ravaging the economy and creating unique conditions to catalyze domestic abuse. Social distancing measures have been put in place in almost all parts of the world to curb the spread of the virus and to avoid overcrowding health care facilities. In as much as it has been an efficient method to flatten the curve, and keep people safe at home, it has also trapped abuse victims with their abusers at home.

The truth is, not everyone is safe at home. While some people are trying to stay clear of the threat outside in the form of COVID-19 and are also able to find solace in the loving care of family members. Others face a more familiar threat within the four walls of their home; one that can be much scarier than the unfamiliar pandemic. Considering that a home is supposed to be a safe haven for its occupants, the home has actually become a nightmare for abuse victims, one they can’t wait to wake up from.

Prior to the coronavirus, abuse victims had more options to help them stay away from their abusers as much as possible. They could arrive at work much earlier than they were expected to. They could go and visit friends and other family members after work. They could prolong their stay at a grocery store. The ultimate goal would have been to spend as little time as possible at home. So, now what can they do, given that they are trapped at home with their abusers?

You should consider leaving! You have probably survived this abusive relationship for a while now, and you might have learned to cope with it. It is common knowledge that abuse tends to increase during times of hardship. However, the effects of COVID-19 have created unique conditions for this to get even worse. Besides the fact that you have been trapped in your home with your abuser, this pandemic has also increased financial hardship and stress which would only add more gas to the fire. Although leaving your home now might not be ideal due to the pandemic, it could be safer than staying at home if the abuse escalates.

There are domestic violence shelters which are open during the quarantine and are taking precautionary measures to protect the people there. You could also consider staying with a friend, family member, or neighbor, in the meantime. Even if you don’t think that leaving now is the best solution, you should have an emergency bag containing your identifications, some money and any important documents ready just in case. Hide it from your abuser. If s/he discovers it, you can tell him or her that you prepared the bag just in case you had to rush to the hospital for COVID-19 related reasons. These are lessons learned in life from a survivor.

If you are able to, another thing you should consider doing is to call a hotline for some advice. While you are planning or thinking about what to do to tackle this situation; calling a domestic abuse hotline will give you insight and help you make a more informed decision. The hotline can help you know which precautions to take, the location of the nearest shelter from your home and what to do to protect your children. Just make sure you call when you or your abuser is away from the home.

The last thing you can do is try to protect your mental health. This might be even more challenging for you to do now than it has ever been, but it is going to be worth it. Try to find ways to relieve stress and anxiety. Take a walk, talk to a close friend about your situation, get enough sleep, learn lessons in life from other abuse survivors, and avoid conflict as much as you can.

You are strong, determined, courageous, and resilient and you won’t be in this situation forever. There will be a way out for you eventually. Stay strong, stay safe, and plan accordingly.

Categories: Life Lessons

27 Comments

Amara Kone · June 28, 2020 at 10:19 pm

It was just horrific reading this. Why do women always suffer the most – no matter what the circumstance, it seems that women always take the brunt of it. And it’s not just during the coronavirus, violence against women is never ending across the entire world!!

    duppydomTEAM · June 30, 2020 at 12:32 am

    Amara, thank you very much for your comments. No one would or should disagree with you. Since the beginning of time, women and girls have been physically and mentally abused and placed in disadvantaged circumstances. [And if you look back in time (with open eyes), beyond anything else, girls/women have suffered the most at the hands of men…. women around the world (particularly those in First World countries) must decide that “enough is enough, it’s time to help our sisters” 👩🏾‍🤝‍👩🏼. And this change should begin with teaching girls to expect more from life 🚀 and arming them with the resources they need].

      Adaego M. Azi · July 3, 2020 at 7:53 pm

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Adaego M. Azi · June 29, 2020 at 1:10 am

duppydomTEAM – this is a very sad article, but this topic is worth writing about. I didn’t even think about this until I first heard about it about the middle of March. I think the word trapped is a good word to use because you would probably feel trapped in the house. The article is probably right – when you are in such a stressful situation as the pandemic, it would probably make the violence worse. These women really need help. Thank you for writing this article, duppydomTEAM.

    duppydomTEAM · June 30, 2020 at 12:32 am

    Adaego, we appreciate your comments. You are right. The stress and strain of living with the coronavirus is making the situation worse for victims. Domestic violence is really about power over the victim and controlling the victim. If the abuser feels that they have no control over their own life, or can’t manage their own life, they will take it out on the victim 💔😧

      Adaego M. Azi · July 3, 2020 at 7:54 pm

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    S. Jakes · July 11, 2020 at 9:45 pm

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S. Jakes · June 29, 2020 at 5:44 am

duppydomTEAM – wow, in addition to trying to survive covid-19, you are also living with an abuser, I cannot imagine what this must do for your mental hearth. I am thinking about how stressful my situation is right now quarantining with my boyfriend and my parents, I don’t think I would survive if I was also dealing with domestic violence. The end of the article mentioned being strong, determined and courageous; this is the thing I can never understand. To be able to handle all this during the quarantine would mean you are a very strong and determined person, so why would you put up with such crap from some guy? Thanks much, duppydomTEAM 👏

    duppydomTEAM · June 30, 2020 at 12:36 am

    S. Jakes – thank you. People outside the abuser/victim relationship ask this question all the time – “why doesn’t she just leave” – the answer is a very complicated one. Firstly, when the victim finally decides to leave, and starts to leave, is when the violence escalates to the point that she might be killed. Leaving means the victim is taking control and power of the situation and the abuser does not know how to deal with that, so s/he often uses more violence. Here are 8 reasons why women stay in abusive relationships 😢

      Adaego M. Azi · July 3, 2020 at 7:55 pm

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      S. Jakes · July 11, 2020 at 9:46 pm

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    Adaego M. Azi · July 3, 2020 at 7:55 pm

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Amie Warwick · June 29, 2020 at 3:46 pm

duppydom – domestic violence is something my husband and I talk about all the time. It is always in the news. In April, I remember reading some statistics in an article about the number of domestic violence cases reported to police and shelters and it was even worse than I thought. I am sure months later into the quarantine those numbers must have hit the ceiling. I had a girlfriend who was abused by her boyfriend and she finally got out. I hope some of these women in quarantine can find a way out.

    duppydomTEAM · June 30, 2020 at 12:36 am

    Amie – your comments are greatly appreciated. Here are some of the startling statistics: according to UN WOMEN (2020), 90 countries are in lockdown, which equates to 4 billion people in quarantine. Here are just some of the countries reporting up to a 40% increase in calls to domestic violence helplines and shelters; Argentina, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States, Singapore, Cyprus and Australia. Even before COVID-19 existed, in the previous 12 months (April 2019/2020), 243 million women and girls (aged 15-49) across the world had been subjected to sexual or physical violence by an intimate partner. Moreover, it is believed that less than 40% of women who experience violence seek help or report the crime. Amie, you can imagine that during the quarantine, the situation is more dire, and probably fewer victims report their abuse. 😢😢

      Adaego M. Azi · July 3, 2020 at 7:56 pm

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D'Gauntlett · June 29, 2020 at 9:57 pm

Such a real and painful topic. Since CORONAVIRUS invaded us like a plague I have constantly thought about increased abuse for those who were already walking a thin line around their abusers. As noted, some folks knew how to escape for a few hours by going to work and else where. Imagine, if financial hardship was apart of the problem and a job was lost because of the current situation, it must be hell to pay in that house. An abuser have no rational thinking. A woman went to the food bank to get some food because there’s none in her home. The husband was livid, called her on the phone cussing and calling her names and demanded she brought herself back home. Nobody knows what happens when she went back. Months later she ran away to another state. I was happy she had made an escape. My happiness was short lived, she came back to him five months later. Her excuse, he said he loved her and missed her. Well, she’s still alive, “in misery”, but with no visible broken bones. She’s one of a lucky few. Others have been killed or maimed for life. It saddens me to think a human being has to endure indescribable abuse, yet cannot find the inner strength to leave. Thanks team duppydom, interesting topic as always.

    duppydomTEAM · June 30, 2020 at 12:31 am

    D’Gauntlett, thank you very much for your insightful comments. You are probably right; the coronavirus has placed even more stress on many relationships that were teetering on the brink of collapse, or involved abuse, prior to the virus. Unfortunately, now the victims of these relationships are stuck; enduring a loveless existence and/or facing increased abuse 😢 The story you reported in your comment is just one of hundreds of thousands of such stories. In terms of why victims stay, see 8 reasons why women stay in abusive relationships. You might also be interested in watching, “how a pandemic affects domestic violence.”

      Adaego M. Azi · July 3, 2020 at 7:56 pm

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    Adaego M. Azi · July 3, 2020 at 7:57 pm

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    S. Jakes · July 11, 2020 at 9:47 pm

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Bruce Peters · June 30, 2020 at 2:44 am

This is definitely a crisis. I assume that during COVID-19 the government is investing more money in domestic violence interventions? I agree with Adaego that this is a worthwhile and timely topic to write about. However, the article mentions, “You should consider leaving!” I think this is what is adding fuel to the fire – the victims cannot leave! (or leave very easily). I took a quick look at, “What Does Calling A Domestic Violence Hotline Do?” I didn’t realize that the hotline would help the victim make a safety plan. From what I have read, it a good idea that the hotline recommends that the victim not simply walk out the door, if they plan to leave the house.

    duppydomTEAM · July 4, 2020 at 1:29 am

    Bruce, thank you for sharing your comments. Federals government around the world are very informed about the increase in domestic violence since the start of the pandemic. For example, in April 2020, the Canadian [federal government announced $50 million in funding for women’s shelters and sexual assault centers (including those serving Indigenous women and girls) and another $7.5 million in funding for Kids Help Phone. This money will enable women’s shelter organizations to provide safe temporary housing]. Similarly, in the U.S., in May 2020, a new bill spearheaded by a group of senators gave domestic violence shelters access to more federal funding. This pattern is becoming commonplace across the world 🙌

Nadine Wu · June 30, 2020 at 6:30 am

Hi, duppydom. The statistics from the UN WOMEN (2020) are unreal. I wonder how many countries in total reported domestic violence in homes during the quarantine? Girls as young as 15 years old suffer from sexual violence? – that is unbelievable. I can’t believe that only 4 in 10 victims report the crime. Did you read the first part of the 8 reasons why women stay in abusive relationships article, where the NFL player, Ray Rice punched his girlfriend unconscious in the elevator? – and he was suspended for only two games – unbelievable. Something needs to be done about this.

    duppydomTEAM · July 4, 2020 at 1:29 am

    Nadine – we appreciate your insightful comments. Unfortunately, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) did not report how many countries reported increases in domestic violence since the beginning of the quarantine. But it is probably safe to say that since 90 countries are under lockdown, at least 90 countries have reported increases. These statistics are startling, but they are not new; and the reason why UN Women consider domestic violence “one of the greatest human rights violations.” 😱

Lisa Steffler · June 30, 2020 at 4:04 pm

This is a very sad situation and it happens all too frequently. In my work with the church I deal with battered women and women in disadvantaged situations all the time. My recommendation is for the women to avoid confrontation in the home at all costs and try to set up a condition where they can leave safely. I know that a lot of battered women remain in the home for the sake of the children’s safety and if there are children in the home, this is top priority. It is also important for her to confide is a friend (that she knows well) and have the friend call the closest domestic violence hotline with the details. Her friend and a counselor at the hotline will make all the plans for her safe removal from the home. It is also important that while all this is happening, she acts completely normal at the house. Thank you duppydom. God bless.

    duppydomTEAM · July 4, 2020 at 1:28 am

    Thank you, Lisa, for your comments. It’s obvious that you are very familiar with domestic abuse hotlines and helping victims get out of their horrific situation. Thank goodness for people like you – continue the good fight Lisa! 🙏💖

    S. Jakes · July 11, 2020 at 9:48 pm

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