Home. It is where the heart is. It is where more of us are working. It is where most of us quarantine during a pandemic. It is supposed to be a safe place, especially now. But home is not always a safe place for 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men. Nearly 700,000 children a year in the U.S. are abused and I am certain this number is underreported.
We continuously hear updates on Covid and how to live our lives as safely as possible. However, Covid isn’t the only threat to some people’s safety. Domestic violence has increased during the pandemic. “911 dispatchers have reported 7.5% more calls related to domestic violence disputes” (Forbes, Oct. 13, 2021).
Because of Covid, victims have to spend more time with their abuser, especially if the abuser is working from home or has become unemployed. There are fewer places for victims to go for a few hours of respite; these factors can lead to an increase in violence.
Domestic violence hasn’t just increased during Covid. “We saw an increase in the lethality indicators within a domestic violence situation, so for instance we saw an increase of weapons being used when it comes to domestic violence, strangulation, assault on someone who’s pregnant, [and] actually people being held against their will” (Forbes, Oct. 13, 2021).
Predictors of domestic abuse include stressors like unemployment, housing issues, physical issues, financial stressors such as medical bills and psychological stressors. These stressors have impacted many and while they do not in, and of, themselves mean a person will be abusive, these pressures are likely to be present in an already existing cycle of violence.
What are some different abusive behaviors during Covid?
- Withholding, hiding, or destroying vaccination passports or other medical records
- Controlling your ability to receive a vaccination
- Cutting off your internet access
- Preventing you from working or studying from home by controlling your access to Zoom
- Threatening to expose you to the virus
No one deserves to be abused. If you or someone you know is being abused, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1.800.799.SAFE (7233) or text “START” to 88788.
Love yourself, you deserve it!