Domestic Violence is a devastating condition that often goes unseen, too often until it’s too late. Though intimate partner violence is most commonly thought of as a crime primarily against female victims in heterosexual relationships, the reality is that victims of intimate partner violence span across diverse groups and partnerships. There is often shame and fear in speaking up about harm/threat, and in non-heterosexual relationships, that threat may be compounded by an added emotionally abusive threat of being “outed” by one’s partner if leaving a toxic relationship.
A community ally with creditcards.com reached out to me and asked me to share the article below, recognizing increases in domestic violence across the world since the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak. The implications of quarantine have certainly affected everyone differently across the world. There is no question that COVID19 has resulted in widespread fears about physical health, devastating losses of life, grief with loss of friends/family, finances, jobs, etc. With so much division already in 2020 and an emphasis on quarantine to keep one another safe, one topic that seems disproportionately under-discussed is that of impact on mental health. The emotional effects of social isolation, compounded by financial stressors and fears of sustaining families, have had catastrophic implications for some. Many hesitate to discuss these outloud for fear of judgment, shaming, further divisiveness, embarrassment, and a host of other feelings against a background already high in political, racial, and other global tensions.
Historically it has been known that fears of financial independence and safety have been significant impediments to seeking help when victims of abuse. The author Ana Staples herein outlines ways in which perpetuators of abuse may silently control or limit a partner’s ability to earn or manage income, escalating fears of living independently or reaching out for help. Staples provides a guide for victims of abuse to consider multiple avenues for financial positioning, such as freezing credit and privately and safely storing documents/resources for long-term independence; financial aid options; short-term and long-term housing considerations; legal assistance; and mental health and recovery considerations (more resources for this here as well).
While the article referenced here focuses on ways to navigate financial help for women, I wish to add that any victim of domestic violence may find value in considering the options herein. I commend our community partners for shedding light on this vital conversation and supports that may help while considering victims’ safety. To family and friends it may seem like an obvious option to leave, but mental health providers and law officials have seen clearly the grave implications of acting impulsively and the potential safety risks of leaving without having proper supports in place. Please consider asking for help and resources in a way that feels safest to you. If you are subject to intimate partner violence, please consider safely calling for phone numbers to shelters in your area: National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH) at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or talk to an advocate online.
We stand together in saying that you can get help, and getting out safely is possible.