COVID-19 and Domestic Abuse
One of the things the concerning people around the world are impending workplace shutdowns and residential lockdowns to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. The Australian Government in particular, has been criticised for its response to the issue, as many believe they’re too relaxed about the impending crisis.
As a survivor of domestic abuse, the thought of residential lockdowns are making me extremely anxious. Not for my own safety, but for those who are trapped in similar circumstances that I once found myself in. And while Governments are coping with this unprecedented event, many seem to be silent about the impeding lockdowns and how this is predicted to spike domestic abuse and violence cases.
Why the Cause for Concern?
For those of us who haven’t experienced domestic abuse, I want you to think of what’s currently going on. There’s a high level of uncertainty, changes are constantly being announced, people in insecure or casual employment are going to be financially stressed, closure of schools, essential household items are selling out and on top of that we have the likelihood of residential lockdowns.
Each one of these issues can be extremely stressful for most of us, but when you add a mix of these stressors into a household where domestic abuse is a concern, then we have a greater issue. Even more so when you consider movement will be restricted. This situation creates a powder keg of volatility.
The lockdowns will create added pressure on these relationships, and the added guilt regarding quarantine will keep people in highly dangerous domestic situations. At the moment we’re constantly being informed to isolate ourselves and expect essential services to shut down, this mixed with the need to quarantine will redoubtably increase domestic abuse cases.
Drowning in Information
However, there’s been deafening silence from the media and the government in this realm. Refuges and support services have been drowned out in the flurry of information that is circulating regarding COVID-19. Barely anyone is able to receive messages from these services unless they’re already following them on social media. It’s very rare for people at risk to follow these services, causing more essential information to be drowned out.
Endless articles about toilet paper shortages and food related fall outs are polluting news feed silencing more essential information. No one will die as a result of a lack of toilet paper, people will die staying in unsafe situations.
The Selfishness is Contagious
Yet this is a symptom of a much deeper problem, the virus is spreading slower than the perceived need to horde and think only of ourselves. The hysteria from the media is turning many of us into self-centred ass holes without any consideration for others. We are becoming blind to the real issues surrounding the virus, and that’s the need for us to protect those who are most vulnerable. After all this is exactly why we’re likely going into lockdown, it’s to slow the spread of the virus so those at risk can get the care they need.
Domestic Abuse Scenarios [TRIGGER WARNING]
Now put yourself in someone’s shoes for a minute. Imagine being a victim of domestic abuse, you’re already isolated from friends and extended family and you’re about to do your usual shop. You arrive to find essentials sold out, you’re already running low and will soon run out. You now have to go back home and tell your abuser that they can’t have something that’s sold out. Suddenly you become a symptom of this selfishness mentioned above.
You’re now a child that’s going to school. You hear your peers excited about the impending shutdown, it’s looking like it will be four weeks if you include the Easter break. Anxiety rises because you know your abusive parent’s work has been shut down and tension at home is getting worse. The family is struggling for money. There’s concern because of it being a lockdown, meaning you can’t run away to anyone. There’s nothing you can do to escape what is coming if the schools close.
Services Will Continue to Operate
The message which has been drowned out is many refuges and services will continue to operate if the lockdowns go a head. Keep this in mind and spread that message as far as possible. You never know who will need to hear it.
Remember things can spread faster than this virus, selfishness is one of them, the other can be messages to others that need to hear it.