Since the onset of the global coronavirus pandemic, life as we know it has changed. There have been changes in where we can go, who we can connect with, and how/where we can spend our time. We have had family members, neighbors and friends who have been affected and possibly infected by this fast spreading virus. The biggest impact that we might see is in our day-to-day life. We may be losing our jobs. We may be having to school our children at home- while working a full time job remotely. With stay at home orders in place, we are spending much more time with our spouses, our kids and in our homes. For those who struggle with spousal abuse or domestic violence this means they are more likely to be spending time with and around their abuser.
Increased Time Together
Based on the increased time around each other alone- the rates of coronavirus and domestic violence episodes are guaranteed to increase. Add in increased stress levels, financial issues, problems with the kids and additional emotional stressors that are a result of this pandemic. The ‘stay home’ ordinances make it difficult for victims to physically remove themselves from situations. Conflicts that were more easily avoidable with less time together are becoming more frequent- and everything is out in the open.
Physical and Emotional Abuse
Aside from physical abuse, emotional abuse and manipulation has also increased due to spending more time together. Victims can feel like they are under surveillance and watched 24/7- walking on eggshells and trying to control their every move/thought/feeling to avoid provoking their abuser. Victims can continue to be isolated from friends, family and support- and even denied access to basic needs within the house. This type of emotional distress- added to the distress of the pandemic in general- is unbearable.
Support During this Crisis
With the increased risk for abuse with people being forced to stay at home, it’s important to make sure that people are aware of their resources and who can help. There are domestic violence hotlines, shelters and supports available- but a more direct advocate can be especially helpful in this pandemic time. Individual support through education, coaching and advocating can also be helpful. Maybe even offering education and/or awareness to your team members who are working from home or your employees on the front lines of this crisis can be helpful in getting the conversation started and bringing support to those in need. Jessica Yaffa is a leader in the movement to reduce relationship abuse globally. She is a renowned domestic violence advocate and an expert in the field of relationships and abuse. She is available for interviews, workshops, and training to help individuals, officials and front line heroes to ensure we are prepared to meet the needs of victims, survivors and all those at risk. There is a global pandemic going on- but there are also coronavirus and domestic violence crises happening every day in homes all across our communities that need our support as well. Build awareness- and get connected.