The world was shaken by grave news last December 2019 when a new novel virus was discovered and caused an outbreak in China. Thousands of people died in mainland China, specifically in Hubei province where the virus originated. Later on, it became a pandemic that affected a lot of countries including the US, Australia, Spain, Germany and Italy.
As the number of cases increases every day, authorities in 191 countries and territories implement preventive and countermeasures to stop this contagion. Countries and cities implement community quarantines and lockdowns to limit the spreading of coronavirus while the medical facilities are working hard to provide a cure.
As much as lockdowns are beneficial in controlling the contagion, it can also pose possible dangers of domestic violence to those women, men and children who are prohibited to socialize.
Understanding Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is generally described as the violence or other abuse in a domestic setting, may it be in marriage or cohabitation. It is not only limited to physical violence but also involves emotional, sexual, social, financial and spiritual.
Let’s put it this way. You are in a relationship wherein you have no control over your own thoughts and actions since your partner takes total control of it. That can be considered as an abusive relationship . Whenever you feel like your self-worth, values, spiritual beliefs, and social activities are being abused, then that’s domestic violence in many forms. The most common form of domestic abuse is a physical manifestation – where you are being hurt, injured or threatened.
The Impact Of Lockdowns On Domestic Violence
For some, a lockdown means safety – their homes can be their safe haven. However, for some, can be a worse-case-scenario. Authorities are anticipating an increase in the reports of domestic violence internationally. According to them, such levels of isolation can push people to abuse their family members or their intimate partners.
Based on a study in mainland China, especially in the provinces strongly affected by the pandemic, cases of domestic violence skyrocketed during the lockdown. Given this, it can be anticipated that the same situation can happen in other countries and cities.
The question is, how? Pandemic or other crisis can cause depression and anxiety which can then turn into aggression when not controlled. During the period that community quarantines are implemented, physical or social contact is highly prohibited, establishments and businesses close which means that a lot of people have temporarily lost their jobs. Plus, as the mortality rate increases fear sinks in and without social contact, people in isolation can be aggressive.
On the other hand, since social contact is no longer allowed, women and children can be abused without people even noticing or without someone to intervene. Vulnerable individuals have nowhere else to go in these trying times and no escape since offices and schools are closed.
Amidst the pandemic, the authorities are still working closely with various organisations to ensure that help will be provided to those who are in need.
Getting Help and Support
The widespread coronavirus contagion is not an excuse to stop the services to help victims of domestic violence. In these trying times, it’s important that you protect yourself from harm if you feel that you’re being abused. Remember, you’re not alone in this battle in spite of the ongoing lockdown.
Report To The Authorities
The first thing that you need to do is immediately report to the police. In spite of this crisis, you can seek help from emergency services or police if you’ve been injured or sexually assaulted. In any event, you feel unsafe, don’t hesitate to request assistance from the police, especially when there’s a threat to your well-being.
Remember that domestic violence isn’t always physical. It could also be insults, put-downs, prohibitions in decision-making, etc. You can also call state and territory support lines to talk about the risks you face.
In connection with this, there are also shelters for women and children where you can seek refuge.
Stay With A Family Member or Friend
If you have family members or friends whom you can seek refuge at this time, then you can stay with them. It’s important that you connect with them in times of trouble and lean on their support while you work out what to do next. Staying with the people you love and trust can also help with the trauma that you have experienced.
Learn Your Rights
Each country, state and city have its own laws that govern domestic violence. Nowadays, you can check your legal rights online. For example, if you are in Australia, you can visit 1800RESPECT for more information on how to keep yourself safe .
It’s important that you know your rights so that you can understand what domestic violence laws cover. This way, you’ll know when your rights are violated or being taken advantage of. Abusive people should not be tolerated.
Thoughts To Ponder
The coronavirus pandemic is life-threatening and amidst this crisis, domestic violence also poses a threat to vulnerable individuals. Indeed, it can be a worse-case-scenario for them. In these trying times, we should all look out for each other. If you happen to witness someone who is being abused, or if you’re the one being abused, then, don’t hesitate to seek help.
Abusive people and their behaviours deserve to be punished. Don’t worry, the police, domestic violence defence lawyers and other welfare organisations work hand in hand to make things right.