Isolated – The Danger of Quarantine for Abuse Victims
Among the many dangers of coronavirus, there’s a hidden issue that not many people are discussing — quarantine restrictions mean that a shocking number of people are trapped at home with an abusive spouse or partner. The National Domestic Abuse Hotline estimates that, on average, 24 people per minute are victims of violence by an intimate partner in the United States, which adds up to more than 12 million women and men over the course of a year.
Domestic abuse, even under what can be considered normal circumstances, is an isolating experience. Many victims are trapped through manipulation and control, even when they’re not exposed to their partners 24/7. With rising fear and anxiety over coronavirus, adding a volatile partner to the mix can lead to an extremely dangerous situation.
In countries such as France and Spain, locations have been set up where abused partners can visit a grocery store or pharmacy and say a code word signifying that they need help. As a result, France has seen a 36% increase in police intervention for domestic violence cases.
But in other areas, victims are not so lucky. Women in India are seeing increased isolation combined with the stress of poverty and spouses who may be out of work. There, the usual outlets of escape have been shut down due to fears over coronavirus.
And it’s not just women. Statistics show that while one in four women have reported instances of domestic violence, one in seven men have been victims as well. In the same vein, violence doesn’t have to be physical. Mental and emotional abuse is also prevalent and can be tremendously isolating on its own.
Economic concerns are also running high, with more and more people unable to work. Fears over how to make rent, pay bills, and generally survive the shutdown mean that there is increased tension which can lead to further instances of abuse.
How Can You Get Help?
This all paints a dark picture for victims of domestic violence, but if you are in that situation help is possible, even in these uncertain times. The important thing is to remember that you are not to blame. Here are some important facts to remember from HelpGuide.org:
- You are not to blame for being battered or mistreated
- You are not the cause of your partner’s abusive behavior.
- You deserve to be treated with respect.
- You deserve a safe and happy life.
- Your children deserve a safe and happy life.
- You are not alone. There are people waiting to help.
If you are suffering abuse at home, here are some resources that are offering help (if you are in an emergency situation, do not hesitate to contact 911):
Coronavirus is enough of an enemy–you do not have to live with fear at home.