Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people all around the world have been recommended to quarantine themselves within the safety of their own home and practice social distancing. Though the compliance of these regulations are crucial for everyones safety and health conditions, many people forget how detrimental this can be for those who are involved in abusive relationships and/or have an unhealthy home life.
For the first part of this short series, I wrote about long distance relationships and how we can stay connected to those who have been separated from us during this time of social distancing. So for this second part, I wanted to bring forth more attention on how this quarantine can be just as harmful to those being forced to spend more time together with those they live with.
My wonderful and selfless mother, Tia Cochran, is a licensed therapist for those who have been/are currently in an abusive relationship. Ever since the spread of COVID-19 and the temporary closing of her office, my mother has very adamant with checking in with her patients, as well as keeping me informed on how damaging this whole pandemic has been towards victims everywhere, both physically and emotionally. She has explained to me how many of the agencies that provide resources and safety for domestic violence victims have closed their physical locations. Although they may still provide help via phone calls, many victims are either unable to keep in touch or are too uncomfortable to receive therapy electronically. Regular face to face therapy sessions are crucial for those to get out of the house and away from their abuser or for those who secretly seek services.
The service my mother works for has a resource room within the office, where patients can go and pick up anything they need for free, such as food, clothing, and other essentials. Now that her office is physically closed, her patients can’t go and get these crucial resources. Additionally, domestic violence shelters that normally take victims and their children are no longer accepting anyone into their shelters, due to COVID-19. This can cause victims to feel even more hopeless, as they don’t have a safe place to seek shelter and treatment.
COVID-19 has also resulted in perpetrators being released after being arrested in a domestic violence incident, due to prisons not wanting to bring in any more individuals. Inevitably, this has also caused an abundance of court cases regarding protective orders and domestic violence cases to be postponed.
Here is some more information my mother has brought home from work regarding perpetrators and how they are using this time of vulnerability and fear to conduct additional harm.
The purpose of this blog post is not to scare anyone, but to just bring forth more attention to this horrific reality that many people unfortunately have to go through. When reaching out to friends and family during this time, make sure you are being mindful that everyone’s home may not be a safe space and to offer support wherever possible.