Advice for Victims of Domestic Violence During Lockdown
Even in the happiest of households, quarantine can cause strife as Leave It To Beaver families are prohibited from leaving their homes and have little to do to stay busy. Now imagine that you are living in one of the millions of homes in the US in which domestic violence is a part of everyday life.
Perhaps you are a wife who was on the verge of finally getting away, and now you feel that you really don’t have the means to leave, either financially or emotionally, because of the worldwide pandemic. Or maybe you’re a child of domestic violence, slipping farther and farther into depression, because you blame the abuse on yourself. You once found solace and a daily escape when you fled to school, but now, you aren’t allowed to even do that.
Even if you’re the actual abuser, you probably find yourself in an even more difficult position as you try each day to “do better,” but the stress of a job lost, depressed finances, increasing health concerns, an uncertain future, and virtual dialogue with other stressed acquaintances all drive you to the edge every day and make you feel that you’re going to explode.
It’s no surprise that domestic abuse calls are on the increase as family members experience these additional stressors, such as depression, substance abuse, financial instability, and job loss.
What Can You Do?
What are families, already struggling, to do? There’s no question that this is a serious problem. There’s no question that the infrastructure must continue to provide support to entities that work to keep people safe. Shelters and crisis help lines must stay open, if at all possible. More than ever, such organizations need additional funding and support. And the US should follow the lead of other countries by banning (or at least limiting) alcohol sales and setting up help centers in open grocery stores.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, feeling helpless to escape, and running into an increased level of conflict due to COVID-19 stressors, what should you do to try to avoid them?
Remember, You Are NOT Alone
Even in times such as this, you are not alone. There are organizations that are still open and willing to help. If you must get away, you still can. If you’re determined to stay in your home during this pandemic, limit interaction with your abuser. Try to reduce the amount of alcohol intake for both of you. Develop healthy habits and hobbies for you and your children. Exercise regularly. Go for walks and bike rides. Fill your days with healthy activities. If you need some inspiration for how to fill your day, check out my blog, “Five Fun Family Activities For Lockdown.” And when you’re ready, leave. There is still help available for you.
Quarantine is difficult for us all. But if your relationship includes an element of domestic violence, don’t allow yourself to lose hope. Rather than looking at the big picture that may, currently, seem insurmountable, live day-to-day. Things will look up soon. And call or email us at Joryn@OpenPalmLaw.com for a free consultation; the moment may not be right now but you should be prepared when the time is right.
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Joryn, attorney and Open Palm Founder, began her own firm here in Tampa after a 14-year career in law, two of which she served as a professor of law at Stetson University. She is a recipient of the prestigious A. Sherman Christensen Award, an honor bestowed in the United States Supreme Court upon those who have provided exceptional leadership in the American Inns of Court Movement. For more information on Joryn’s professional experience, take a look at her resume.