January 6, 2021
Most of the country is focused on the COVID-19 pandemic we have been facing for nearly a year now. And rightfully so, as thousands continue to become ill and even lose their lives to this virus.
But meanwhile, there are others who are now facing a pandemic within a pandemic – domestic violence in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As cases began to surge, stay-at-home orders were put in place, schools were closed, workers were laid off or told to work remotely. With people’s normal routines and movement now limited, and most confined to their home the majority of the time, many victims found themselves trapped with their abusive partner.
Domestic violence hotlines prepared for an increase in calls. But according to the New England Journal of Medicine, calls dropped by more than 50 percent in some regions.
This doesn’t mean the abuse and violence isn’t happening though – it just means it isn’t getting reported.
Especially with students also working from home, intimate partners are not the only ones becoming victims to this abuse and violence.
Did you know it is estimated that between 8 million and 15 million children are exposed to adult domestic violence each year?
And especially with students learning from home, children are affected in households where domestic violence is present even more with more time behind closed doors.
The long-term effects this kind of environment can have on a child is substantial.
Children who witness domestic violence or are victims themselves can experience long-term physical and mental health problems. They might also be at a greater risk for being the violent partner in their future relationships.
All of this in addition to the educational and developmental consequences they will suffer as their routines and ability to participate in educational activities are hindered.
One of the most common questions people ask is “why do victims stay?”
While the consequences of staying might seem bad, the consequences of leaving can seem far more intimidating to the victim. The fear could be surrounding their partner’s reaction to them leaving or of their own ability to be independent.
For some people, abuse seems like the normal way of life. A child who grew up in an abusive home might see an abusive home as an adult as “the way things are done.” For this reason, they might not even fully recognize the extent of the abuse.
It is difficult to admit to being the victim of abuse. The victim might feel as though they have done something wrong or they let this happen to them. Sometimes the shame is enough to keep them complacent.
These are just a few of the reasons people stay. It is important to remember that everyone’s story is different, and you can’t say for sure how you would react in this situation either.
During a pandemic, these reasons can even have other reasons added, such as:
We are dedicated to supporting women experiencing domestic abuse and domestic violence by way of referral services.
We strongly believe in making resources readily available to those who need them the most. And during a time when domestic violence is on the rise, these services are needed more than ever.