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COVID-19's Impact on Domestic Violence

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is the intimidation, physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, and any other behavior which relates to one person having the feeling of power, control, or dominance over the other. Domestic violence can occur between anyone, regardless of gender, race, religion, nationality, or social status. It can also take place through many different forms which may not immediately be recognized as domestic violence by the victim, abuser, or an outsider.

General forms of domestic abuse include physical abuse, emotional or verbal abuse, sexual abuse or coercion, reproductive coercion, financial abuse, digital abuse, and even stalking.

Signs of Abuse from the General Forms Listed Above:

  1. Pull your hair or punch, slap, kick, bite, choke, or smother you.

  2. Forbid or prevent you from eating or sleeping.

  3. Prevent you from contacting emergency services, including medical attention or law enforcement.

  4. Harm your children or pets.

  5. Calling you names, insulting you, or constantly criticizing you.

  6. Acting jealous or possessive or refusing to trust you

  7. Isolating you from family, friends, or other people in your life.

  8. Gaslighting you by pretending not to understand or refusing to listen to you; questioning your recollection of facts, events, or sources; trivializing your needs or feelings; or denying previous statements or promises.

  9. Force you to dress in a sexual way you’re uncomfortable with.

  10. Insult you in sexual ways or call you explicit names.

  11. Force or manipulate you into having sex or performing sexual acts, especially when you’re sick, tired, or physically injured from their abuse.

  12. Implying that you owe them something sexually in exchange for previous actions, gifts, or consent.

  13. Refusing to use a condom or other types of birth control.

  14. Depositing your paycheck into an account you can’t access.

  15. Preventing you from viewing or accessing bank accounts.

  16. Telling you who you can or can’t follow, or be friends with on social media.

  17. Using social media or technology to track your activities.

  18. Spreading rumors about you online or in person.

These 18 examples are just some of the many different ways someone can abuse you.

“According to the World Health Organization, ‘1 out of 3 women in the world experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, making it the most widespread, but the least reported, human rights abuses’” (International Action Center).

During the COVID-19 pandemic, domestic violence was called “the epidemic within the pandemic” due to the increase in domestic violence reports during quarantine (International Action Center). The National Domestic Violence Hotline stated that more than 2,300 calls were made from the middle of March to early April in 2020 in which each call stated that the pandemic was one of the reasons for the abuse. “United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a call the week of April 6 for governments to address domestic violence as a key part of their pandemic response” (International Action Center).

Abusers are gaining new advantages because of the benefits of quarantine and the pandemic. For example, abusers can now prevent their victims from sanitary items, medical attention, or even public transportation. They are giving their victims misinformation about the pandemic and using COVID-19 as an excuse to keep the victims at home. They may stress that leaving the home is dangerous as of right now and can even keep the victims away from their family or friends.

Many hotliners are telling victims or preventers to create safety plans to use in case they ever need to leave the abusers' household immediately and quickly. They are also encouraging people to make sure they have time for self-care and mental check-ins. Keeping in touch with online friends over the phone or internet is also very important. Seeking support systems and educating others about abuse is so necessary for the future of women, men, and also gender-nonconforming people.

Written and Researched By Lakshmi Potturu



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