Domestic Violence During the Lockdown


The advent of lockdown has brought many known community issues to the forefront. Gender-based violence, social inequalities, poverty, and police brutality seem to have reared their ugly heads in exigent circumstances.

What we do know for sure is that these issues have always been around. Its manifestation in the public eye are symptoms hinting at community conditions in need of treatment. The knowledge of these issues helps us identify and address them.

Domestic violence, on the other hand, is one of the more discreet ailments plaguing society. It hides behind closed doors. Borne of uncorrected psychological trauma, it makes the once oppressed oppress. 

In homes where the problem is already prevalent, its intensity has increased during the COVID countermeasures. Due to factors like stress and uncertainty, families previously unaffected found themselves in the milieu.

What is Domestic Violence

Domestic violence, also known as Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), prevails mainly within the confines of the victim’s four walls. It encompasses abuse at home, dating violence, spouse abuse, and partner abuse. 

By contemporary definition, it’s any form of maltreatment in a relationship among adolescents or adults. The defining factor is that it’s at the hands of an intimate partner.

Aside from Government institutions and NGOs, there are private legal entities offering assistance with these issues. Click here to understand more.

Pre COVID Perspective

According to the CDC, one in three women will experience domestic violence in their lives. Men aren’t exempt; one in six men will experience the same effects. The commission went on to say that one in four women and one in ten men have already experienced conflict.

The latter is the perspective and statistics on domestic violence before the advent of COVID19.

Studies indicated less than one percent of those occurrences get reported to the police. As abuse becomes more severe, women are increasingly over-represented as victims. How so?

As well hidden as the issue may be, it’s come to light that cases of victimized men are even more secret yet ever-increasing.

The Effect of COVID on Domestic Violence

The temporary lockdowns imposed on societies worldwide gave rise to alcoholism and substance abuse in a home environment. It’s also created a trigger for underlying psychological problems and post-traumatic disorders. These situations manifested themselves through frustration or the desire to vent, leading to a violent conflict. 

There hasn’t been any fact-based research in the US to indicate the rise in abuse or conflict in homes. The only resources available are anecdotal, and the accounts have been abundant.

The stay-at-home order came into effect on the 23rd of May in Portland, Oregon. Police reports indicate a 22% rise in arrests since then. These don’t include interventions without arrests.

In St. Antonio, Texas, the closure of schools and stay at home orders came a day later than Oregon. The Authorities stated that they received an 18% increase in callouts compared to March 2019.

Jefferson County’s’, Alabama Sherriff’s Office recorded a 27% increase in domestic violence calls since the start of lockdown.

New York seemed to be a bit more enlightened as they only reported a 10% increase compared to last year.

Remedial for One Detrimental for Another

Governments implemented the lockdown as an emergency measure to curb the Pandemics’ infection rate. Some welcomed the prospect of staying at home. It meant a break from the taxing demands of everyday life. While it did allude to an uncertain future, it allowed for a breather and an opportunity to rest and reflect.

The latter wasn’t a sentiment shared by everyone. For a percentage of the population, leaving the house every day was the highlight of their lives. The latter was the most dreaded eventuality that could ever materialize. Essentially, it was a sentence to an intensified period of fear, misery, and pain. Governments unwittingly closed the proverbial prey into the lion’s den. 

The risks of being locked down with an abusive partner are extensive. They range from minor physical injuries and psychological abuse to death.

Often the victimized intimate partner isn’t the only party affected. The most significant casualties are the minors present in such an ordeal. 

They may not speak of what happens at home, but it registers and gets stored in their psychological archives. Not forever, though; the damage they see as kids does surface. Years down the line, the once audience members may become the actors, acting out the things they saw as children.

 The Bottom Line

The handling of the coronavirus has only worsened the plight of these victims. The resources needed to handle the pandemic has placed a strain on every other sector of welfare and community support. In so doing, it’s blunted the effectiveness of social mechanisms previously put in place to handle the situation.

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