Image source: https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2020/04/22/domestic-violence-has-increased-during-coronavirus-lockdowns
“The very technique we are using to protect people from the virus can perversely impact victims of domestic violence. . .it provides an opportunity for abusers to unleash more violence.” -- Anita Bhatia
IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW IS OR HAS BEEN A VICTIM OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, CALL THE NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (DV) HOTLINE AT 1-800-799-7233
For more information on handling a domestic violence situation, visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline website.
Overview: Welcome back to my blog! This week, I will be introducing the topic of domestic violence and discussing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on victims of domestic violence.
Note: This post is a preface for later content on childhood trauma, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), and toxic stress.
During this pandemic, many studies have shown that overall crime has dramatically decreased due to mandatory lockdown. However, the reports of domestic violence have skyrocketed.
Domestic violence was already a crisis before this pandemic. Domestic violence is a silent crime, meaning that it takes place in people’s homes — out of sight of law enforcement and the public. For millions of people, the place that should be a sanctuary is their hell.
Before this pandemic, domestic violence was shoved under the rug. Government officials and the mainstream public wanted to have a view of the “perfect home,” based on a loving family with no conflicts and a picturesque lifestyle. News sites and channels never reported the truth about domestic violence. Until now, the U.S. lived in oblivion about the real, horrific state of millions of American households.
The following are statistics on domestic violence before the COVID-19 pandemic:
Since the pandemic began, those statistics have only worsened. According to an article from The Economist, reports of domestic violence have increased by 5% since March. However, who knows how many incidents, attacks, threats, or actions have not been reported?
The number of victims of domestic violence has also drastically increased. According to Marianne Hester, a sociologist who studies abusive relationships, domestic violence increases whenever families spend more time together. Due to the pandemic, families are together 24/7 and governments are urging the public to stay inside whenever possible, creating perfect conditions for domestic violence.
The regulations the government created to protect the public are giving perpetrators more opportunities to abuse their victims. Many victims are not allowed outside, a New York Times article reports. In other words, after pushing domestic violence under the rug for so long, many government officials have forgotten about a significant category of Americans who are in the need of the most help.
Despite its long-term consequences on society, some government officials and citizens refuse to realize the pandemic of domestic violence. There is a long list of consequences of domestic violence on victims.
These are just a handful:
It took a pandemic for society to simply begin to realize the prevalence and impacts of domestic violence. Think about that.
Now that the news is beginning to open the public’s eyes to the truth about domestic violence, we need to keep the ball rolling. It is our responsibility to spread the truth and spread awareness. Domestic violence is a pandemic. It does not disappear with the headlines, and it is not a side effect of the coronavirus. It has always been around, and if we do nothing, it will always be around.
If you have any questions about the impacts of domestic violence or what you can do to spread awareness, leave a comment or check out the “Call to Action” page!
Please like and share this post on Facebook. The discussion on domestic violence starts with YOU.
Take Action. Start the conversation. Be the change.
Meghan Hesterman (she/her) is a child advocate and education blogger. While a student at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD), she created Journal of a Future Teacher to share her journey in becoming an early childhood teacher.