- Apr 28, 2021
- 3 minutes
Quarantine with my Abuser
Escaping from an abuser is not an option for a person quarantined with their abuser during this pandemic. Due to this long-lasting lockdown in the world, women are forced to stay at home with violent and controlling men. In times of crises, when resources are restrained and institutional capacity is limited due to least local-level participation, women and girls face disproportionate impact.
According to a report printed by the world economic forum, our past experience showed that domestic, sexual and gender based violence increased during the crisis and disaster. The kind of violence women feared to be facing during the 2014-16 Ebola in Africa, and 2015-16 Zika epidemics in Brazil, and it appears to be happening now.
Similarly, the Covid-19 pandemic and ensuring lockdown has placed women from abusive households in a tough situation. They suddenly find themselves locked in with those who abuse them, verbally: physically or emotionally, and going out to save her life from the abuser means risking infections.
In a cosmopolitan article “I escaped my abusive relationship during lockdown” by Cyan Turan’, she wrote about a campaign called ‘an epidemic beneath a pandemic’, about the number of domestic abuse incidents has risen dramatically over the past years. She mentioned “Today on the one year anniversary of the UK's first lockdown, domestic abuse charity Refuge announced that calls and messages to its National Domestic Abuse helpline rose by 61% between April 2020 and February 2021”. She significantly added that ‘charity’ had recorded an average of 13,162 calls and messages per month over the past year, whereas the previous rates were around 8,176.
Locked up with an abuser is not just common in the UK or USA, but it most common in developing or under developing countries.
According to a report, printed in ‘The Guardian’ in Hubei, China, domestic violence reports have tripled alone during lockdown in February, from 47 last year to 162 this year. Whereas in Brazil, one of the main reasons for the raise in cases is due to coronavirus isolation.
But the condition for Italy was not the same. According to Italy activists there are heavy drop in calls from victims, rather than receiving desperate text messages and emails. While talking to ‘the guardian’ about the same, Lella Palladino from EVA cooperative said that “one message was from a woman who had locked herself in the bathroom and wrote to ask for help”.
Similarly, in India, the number of calls to domestic abuse helpline are declining. According to reports printed by ‘The Print’, the victims were discreetly using other means such as email, even twitter direct messages, to file complaints or to seek guidance without tipping off their abusers. This report highlighted the Pune based AKS foundation and Delhi based Jagori and Shakti Shalini receiving fewer calls and emphasised that this was a cause for concern.
According to Barkha Bajaj, the director of AKS Foundation the reason behind the drop in the calls is because the women are not getting the opportunity to call. She added that they usually receive calls when the victims are away from the abuser but now they are trapped in their homes with their abuser all day. This doesn’t reflect that violence has stopped but this could lead to a rise in abuse.
Orders to stay at home all around the globe, intended to protect people from the virus but left many used to be trapped with their abusers. The number of intimate partner violence (IPV) is increasing day by day. As Megan L. Evans in her article “A Pandemic within a Pandemic—intimate partner violence during in covid-19”, significantly mentions intimate partner violence (IPV) and her concern about the potential increase of the same due to this pandemic. She added ‘one in 4 women and one in 10 men experience IPV, and violence can take various forms: it can be physical, emotional, sexual or psychological’.
I remember the words of a domestic violence survivor “The sound of the blender petrifies me. It's the start of my day, when I have to be vigilant”. At last I just want to quote “When it comes to abuse, you believe there’s no way out. There is always help. There is always a way out.” ― Rev. Donna Mulvey.