By Amanda Kippert | DomesticShelters.org
Abusers will likely exploit the COVID-19 pandemic to their own advantage. “This is another opportunity for an abusive partner to control their partner,” says Akapo.
Survivors should be aware that abusers may….
Make sure the information you’re receiving about COVID-19 and the response recommendations are correct by visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. The CDC also lists the symptoms for COVID-19 and gives instructions for what to do if you suspect you are infected.
Katie Ray-Jones, chief executive officer of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, tells USA Today that a woman called the hotline to say an abusive partner doesn’t believe in medical treatment, so he’s forcing her to wash her hands each day until they’re raw. Another young girl called because she’s afraid of being quarantined with her mother and her mother’s abusive partner. She typically gets support from her school counselor, but now school is closed.
Recently the organization DomesticShelters.org posed the question on Facebook: Are any survivors worried about a quarantine with an abusive partner in the home? The replies ranged from “Yes yes yes” to “That’s my biggest fear.” A survivor named “Abby” (name changed for protection) told DomesticShelters.org that she recently escaped a physically and verbally abusive partner of nine years. Even though she has her own home, the abuser has been trying to convince her and her children they should be staying with him right now.
“He’s … not wanting me to leave his house. He’s telling me what I should do, and to stay at his house. I told him I want to stay the night at my house and he gets upset.”
Safety Planning for a Quarantine
Coming up with a plan of what you can do will take away some of the anxiety about the unknown. If you’re afraid of being trapped in a home with an abusive partner, walk through the possible scenarios and decide ahead of time what your response will be.
Martha’s House is available 24hrs a day to talk with you about your circumstances and help you make a safety plan that’s personalized for you. Just call us at 863-763-0202.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline warns that abusers may implement tactics such as withholding necessary supplies like medication, hand sanitizer, insurance cards or may prevent survivors from seeking medical care.
Also important to note: Most shelters do not discriminate against survivors who are sick, nor would they ask a survivor to leave if they became sick. Martha’s House is open and available to all victims of domestic violence regardless of health status. Feel free to call us at any time.
Finally, even if survivors choose to stay with an abuser during a quarantine, self-care is vitally important. Stress can lower one’s immune system, making you more susceptible to viruses. Everyone should make sure they’re getting plenty of sleep, drinking lots of water, eating healthy and finding a support system in some capacity.
It is easy to ignore this message. Please don’t. We and the thousands of people who use this non-profit website to prevent and escape domestic violence rely on your donations. A gift of $5 helps 25 people, $20 helps 100 people and $100 helps 500 people. Please help keep this valuable resource online.