Social distancing and Stay-At-Home Orders seem like one of the only things that the general population can do right now to slow the spread of the novel COVID-19 virus. While this is a brilliant and mandatory strategy, it brings with it a myriad of new and daily struggles. One of the more alarming struggles is the forced proximity between abusers and victims of domestic violence. For a victim of domestic violence, a Stay-At-Home Order is a worst case scenario. It provides less accountability for their abusers, the feeling of being trapped, and the likelihood that arguments will escalate.
Normally, police are used to seeing a higher rate of domestic violence during holidays - when families are all at home together. With families being quarantined and forced to be together, the rates of domestic violence are expected to surge far past the numbers expected during holidays.
Many people do not have to go to work in the morning and therefore, physical evidence of abuse is not easily recognized by friends, families, and co-workers. When confined to a small space, people tend to lash out far more than usual. There is no opportunity for abuser and victim to separate from each other to cool down.
What is less often discussed are the instances of mental, financial, and psychological abuse. These methods of abuse and control, while leaving no physical marks, are equally dangerous and destructive. These methods are also expected to surge over the coming weeks and months
Despite the Stay-At-Home Orders, most shelters and local resources are still available to victims. Resources such as Project Safeguard, The Rose Andom Center, the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and Violence Free Colorado, and Harris Law Firm (contact information below) are still open, despite having their physical locations closed to the public. These resources are created to be effective, yet discreet.
If you or someone you know is the victim of domestic violence, please refer to these and many other resources still available to you. There are many advocates that genuinely care and truly want to help. You have options. You are not trapped. You do not deserve to be abused. Many people are standing by ready to help.