Safe from COVID-19. But even more Unsafe than usual at home!

COVID-19 has forced our lives to be different to usual.  And it’s difficult and challenging for “everyone”.  But for victims of Domestic Violence who now find themselves at home with their abusive partners for longer periods of time, due to the Social Isolation strategy being adopted, it is highly likely that the amount of abuse perpetrated will increase.  Not in every case.  But even in one case, of course, it is one case too many!

One of the principal tactics that an abuser makes use of, is Isolation.  Isolating his partner from anyone who could potentially be of any type of support to his partner in relation to managing or coping with or even escaping from the abuse that he inflicts upon her.  A call from heads of the City or State of New York City, such as Mayor de Blasio or Governor Cuomo, to practice Social Isolation, is a godsent gift for the abuser.  Or should we say, … a devilsent gift?!

Now the abuser’s work in this “department”, in the “Isolation Tactic department”, is done for him!  She is at home for the vast majority of the time.  And even when she is talking with or face-timing family members or friends, he is right there, to monitor her every word.  He can basically now say to her and do to her whatever he chooses with far less risk of her being able to get help.  It’s a dream come true for him.

It’s a nightmare for her!  A real-life nightmare with potentially dire, real-life consequences.  What if he physically attacks her?  Will her neighbor in the apartment to their right, who would previously have intervened by knocking on their door, still knock on their door?  If her husband answered the door, there would be far less than six feet between him and the neighbor!  Perhaps the neighbor will call the police.  But what if they arrive too late?  Or what if they do arrive in time, but because of Social Distancing, they don’t stay long?!  Or what if, even if the neighbor intervenes and the police turn up?  Imagine how furious her husband will be following that!!

VOW has created a Safety Planning document for those Living With An Abusive Partner.  You can find it on VOW’s website by clicking here, on Facebook and twitter @VoicesofWomen.

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Living With An Abusive Partner – Safety Planning

While living with an abusive partner, safety planning for survivors, their children, and their pets of the utmost importance. Please use all or some of this safety plan to meet your needs. Created by survivors of domestic violence.

  • Determine your partner’s use of physical force so you can assess the risk to you and your family.
  • Pick safe areas to go to  in your home, free of your children. There should be no weapons and it is an area that you can go to, if you feel an argument is about to happen.
  • Teach your children how to get help. Make sure that they understand to not get involved in an argument.
  • Practice how to get out safely. Practice with your children. Create a code word to signal to them that they should get help or leave.  Plan and instruct them on a place for them to go.
  • Let trusted friends and neighbors know of your situation, and develop a plan and visual signal for when you need help.
  • Keep weapons like guns and knives locked away.
  • Keep important documents in a safe place, or with a trusted family member.
  • If possible, have a phone available at all times. If your life is in danger, call 911.

Trust your instincts. Abusers, stalkers, and perpetrators are often very determined to maintain control over their victims, and Technology is one of many tools used to do this. Information can come from a variety of sources, like monitoring your devices, accessing your online accounts, tracking your location, or gathering information about you online. Use safe devices and protect your usernames and passwords.

Be Safe & Healthy.


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