The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, or U.N. Women, and the American Journal of Emergency Medicine stated that when the coronavirus pandemic began, domestic violence incidents skyrocketed around the world. There has been a 300% increase in Hubei, China, 50% in Brazil, 33% in Singapore, and 25% in Argentina. Furthermore, in the United Kingdom, it was noted that the calls to the domestic violence hotline have risen since lockdowns were implemented.
In the United States, the domestic violence situation is equally troubling. In fact, reports of domestic violence to the police department increased in several cities around the country. For example, there has been a 22% increase recorded in Portland, Oregon, 18% in San Antonio, and 10% in New York.
Warning Signs of Abuse
In case you are worried about a loved one, it would be best to look out for several vital signs that could indicate that they are in an abusive relationship and might need some help. Below are these signs:
- Making excuses not to see family or friends or withdrawing from other people;
- Having frequent injuries or bruises, they can’t explain or don’t want to talk about;
- Showing some extreme change in personality;
- Wearing long clothes to hide wounds and bruises (such as long-sleeved shirts during summer);
- Having a partner who has a temper, is very possessive, or easily gets jealous;
- Seemingly afraid of their significant other or seeming anxious around their partner;
- Having limited access to credit cards, car, or money;
- Getting frequent calls from their partner, especially those that make them anxious or require them to check-in.
Not Just Physical
Domestic violence does not only pertain to physical abuse. However, this form of abuse is the most easily understood and most likely thought to occur between people in a sexual or romantic relationship. Domestic violence can be in many different forms, including sexual, verbal, financial, or emotional abuse.
Crisis Exacerbates Domestic Violence
Violence most likely affects marginalized people. Although challenging circumstances are not the main cause of domestic violence, hardships can reduce access to resources and increase tension.
The coronavirus pandemic has increased domestic violence because of the curfews and lockdowns. This is on top of the stress people most likely have due to the worsening socio-economic conditions. Furthermore, it is even more challenging for people to escape abusive relationships because of movement restrictions and a lot easier for others to miss the signs that something is wrong. That is why it is vital for people to be able to identify the red flags in their relationship and for others to recognize the signs of domestic violence.
Abusers Want Control
Abusers, more often than not, mask their controlling tendencies for that of concern or kindness. This can be done when an abusive partner offers to take you home every day after work or suddenly appears during an event. Yes, this can be positive and shows that your partner just wants to spend more time with you.
However, too much of it can be overwhelming. These actions indirectly illustrate that the abusive partner has the right to show up anywhere and anytime, giving the sense that they are omnipresent. This can sometimes lead to a limit on the other partner’s behavior and communication, since he/she acts as if their abusive partner is present all the time.
Friends and Family Member Most Likely Miss Red Flags
As mentioned earlier, you can look out for signs if a person is experiencing domestic violence. Because of the controlling behavior, those who experience domestic abuse tend to stop participating in activities they used to love. Moreover, they even tend to stop attending gatherings and events they used to enjoy and show less interest in their hobbies.
The changes in the behavior of the abused partner are warnings. If you notice any of these signs, pay attention and ask questions. It would be best to make sure your loved one knows that you can be trusted and that you are willing to listen.
It is vital to note that domestic abusers can avail of Remedy Bail, and they can be exceedingly good manipulators. They often ask for forgiveness and promise to do their best in the future. Hence, if you are the abused partner and you filed a case against the abuser, you should be prepared to stand your ground and fight for your rights if you want to get out of an abusive relationship.
Some people experience years of emotional breakdown and abuse. This means the healing process does not only mean getting your physical affairs back in order. Furthermore, “just leave” is not helpful advice to give to an abused partner. This is because it can be very challenging for them to do so.
In order for an abused partner to leave the relationship, he/she needs a window of opportunity, money to sustain themselves and their dependents, a safe place to go, and safety protocols in place. Sometimes, these people might also need mental health support. Moreover, there are many resources available that can help with mental health, from finding the best therapist to inpatient care and support groups.
When it comes to financial manipulation, it can be challenging and might take a long time to save enough funds to leave on your own. In many cases, those who experience domestic violence pretend that everything is okay and normal in the household. They fear that they might experience violence again when other people know about their real situation.
As mentioned earlier, an abused partner needs a safe place to go when he/she wants to leave an abusive relationship. It would be best to check with NGO-managed groups and state-operated facilities. They are shelters that abused people can run to and get help from. However, it is vital to note that you should be clear about your gender and age as well as those of any dependents you are bringing. This is because some safe houses and shelters only accept specific genders and age groups.
To Sum It Up
When the coronavirus pandemic started and quarantining became a safety precaution, domestic violence incidents skyrocketed globally. Many factors can explain this phenomenon, one being the isolation. Furthermore, this is a pervasive issue that requires a lot of attention.