As countries respond to the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 with a community lockdown, men, women, and children lie susceptible to abuse. This lockdown buys the government time and slows down the spread of COVID-19, but some households aren’t as safe as we thought. Several countries over the world discovered an unfortunate upward trend in domestic violence.
What’s Happening During The Lockdown?
As adults stress over the consequences and preventive measures of COVID, unemployment and tight budgets also meet them at the threshold of the lockdown. Since companies are laying off employees, it causes an added emotional and mental stress. With stressors piling left and right, physical escape for both victims and abusers is impossible. With this, people tend to lash out in the most inconsiderable ways. Psychologists also explain how the loss of a job or stress at work triggers abuse at home. Lacking power at work, they feel the urge to exert dominance in isolation with their victims.
Experts also predict an increase in child sexual abuse, trafficking, and exploitation. Marginalized families with breadwinners laid off from work find alternatives to earn a living, even when such means are too derogatory. Another scenario the lockdown paints for children is a loss of a parent or guardian. This effect may be COVID-related or domestic abuse as orphans find ways to sustain their families. Operations for child protection and welfare organizations have also ceased, leaving the children to fend for themselves in their homes.
The United Nations reports a double increase in the calls received by help hotlines dedicated to abuse. In the United Kingdom, help hotlines for victims rise to 700%, according to an abuse charity. Meanwhile, a hotline aimed towards helping abusers rose to 25% during the start of lockdown in the country.
These reported cases reflect the adverse effects of the lockdown. Imagine the cases of those going undetected. While the lockdown does not create violent partners, experts express how the lockdown serves as an opportunity for these abusive behaviors to surface.
How Can We Help Combat This Locked-In Crisis?
Human Rights organizations urge governments to also give attention to women, men, and children who need protection. No government was ready for the pandemic. However, governments have been aware of the domestic violence cases long before COVID-19. Yet, they treat this maltreatment and abuse with reactive solutions yet again. Some governments have not left victims with sufficient provisions. The government should still be held accountable for addressing the plight of over 10 million people at risk of domestic abuse.
Even with written laws going against violence against women and children and domestic abuse, individual groups continue to fight against violence. Even with the lockdown, women, and children protection agencies and charities, along with human rights, organizations found ways to connect and hopefully save lives.
With a lengthened lockdown, situations may worsen unless the government intervenes in helping victims abandon isolation. A more optimistic solution is to help abusers come into the light of changing their behavior. Counselors from charities may help regulate an abuser’s emotions, keep their mental health at bay, and reach out to victims with trauma.
A happy and healthy mind and body are partners in stabilizing our moods, emotions, and mental well-being. Abusers may be our loved ones. If you think you can still reasonably communicate with an abuser, you can help with these simple steps:
- Stay Emotionally Connected
As people distance themselves from other people physically, it is essential to stay emotionally connected to them. With the use of the internet and communication technologies, we can reach out to our loved ones. By catching up with friends, students, and family, we can also find if there is something wrong going on.
- Healthy Sleeping Habits
Who can function properly when they don’t have enough sleep? Extreme sleep deprivation increases hallucinations and mental instability. Although we might have more time to stay up late on the internet, there’s only so much our bodies can handle.
- Practice Mindfulness
Exercising and meditation techniques help a person improve mindfulness. In turn, mindfulness brings about stable control of one’s thoughts and emotions. Mindfulness is necessary for everybody to manage stress efficiently.
- Nutritious Meals
See to it that your loved ones and students are eating healthy food. The body needs sustenance to perform tasks and think clearly and logically. Don’t skip meals if you can afford it.
In hindsight, domestic violence has been raging pandemic, which worsened with the lockdown. Governments and private organizations should work hand in hand in also prioritizing the welfare of people inside their homes. By looking out for each other, improved health, emotional and mental stability, and staying connected to friends or a help hotline may save us in such a time of coronavirus.