TRAPPED AT HOME WITH THE ENEMY?



The other day I was watching the news and a commercial on domestic violence caught my eye, and I wondered. What could all these women do to protect themselves from an abusive partner during the confinement?

All the stalkers, molesters, bullies, harassers, and rapists that used to be out there searching for their prey in the streets or workplace, are now at home, and the only prey is their partner and/or children; and there’s nothing they can do about it but fight back, hide, or pray.

I’m saying this because going back to the commercial, women were told to dial x number asking for help. In a perfect world, first, they would answer the phone immediately; secondly, they would send somebody to retrieve you, and thirdly, these women would be installed in safe shelters.

But… if when you call reporting that you have symptoms of Coronavirus, the phone either keeps ringing forever, or you’re put on hold, day in and day out; imagine the hotline for battered women. As battered women who suffer from the syndrome effects, if they can overcome the panic and get hold of a phone without being seen, the fact of not receiving and answer, must be a slap in the face.

I would go even further, what if they do get an answer, what then? Where would they go in the middle of the “stay home” lockdown? Can we provide them with shelters far away from their abusers? I don’t think that’s the case at the moment, as the priority to safe lives from the Coronavirus is clear. Can the authorities imagine what is awaiting for them at home once they officially ask for help? It must be terrifying!

Just alone, when their spouse/partners drink or consume drugs, the effects are terrible enough, suffering from psychological and physical violence; with the lockdown, the risk of domestic violence victims is much higher. However, we practically haven’t heard anything about any cases of those confined with an abusive partner. Now, this doesn’t mean there are not out there, worldwide, as confinement can only worsen the situation of domestic violence perpetrators.

Domestic violence is a serious problem, I think we should be more aware of this and include this segment in the measures to follow during lockdown as part of the coronavirus pandemic problems to prevent, cover and heal.

Not only the physical health of our people is important, but also the psychological health, wellbeing, and safety of our women and children, who are trapped with the enemy.

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