With coronavirus surging across the globe, violence against women and children is also surging. *Trigger Warning*
*Trigger Warning: The following post discusses sexual and domestic violence against women and children.*
2020 will go down in history for many reasons: coronavirus, the American president questioning democracy, stay-at-home orders, virtual schools, working from home, and more. Another reason why 2020 will go down in history is because of the surge in domestic violence cases.
It is being called the invisible, or shadow, pandemic: domestic violence against women and children. Rarely is it ever talked about by mainstream media, but that does not mean the problem doesn't exist. Even before the pandemic began, 1 in 3 women on this planet experienced physical or sexual abuse, mainly by an intimate partner. These numbers have surged in nearly every country, including the United States.
Since the dawn of the pandemic, domestic violence hotlines have seen an increase in phone calls. Sexual violence, and other forms of violence, has only increased in intensity in public, behind closed doors, and online.
Sexual violence and domestic violence survivors are running into another problem: limited access for support. In many countries, officials have put more effort into combating coronavirus, and less on services needed for victims of abuse.
Without support, women and children are dying by the hands of a loved one. Home is not a safe place. While combating coronavirus is important, we cannot ignore the devastating statistics of women and children that are victims of domestic and sexual violence. Officials need to do more to save these women and children. Feminist groups, women's rights groups, children advocates, domestic violence support groups, everyone, needs to pitch in and save these women and children.
Every kind soul deserves a safe space. Women and children should not be sheltering-in-place with their abuser.
When I was a young child, I was physically and emotionally abused by my mother, and physically, emotionally, and sexually abused by her boyfriends. I wasn't safe at home, and when you're a kid, there aren't that many places to go. I was stuck and in fear of the world around me.
To this day, I have flashbacks from the most violent aspects of my childhood. When I was 6 or 7, I witnessed my mom's boyfriend beat the hell out of her pregnant stomach. I was frozen in fear, and eventually blacked out. This is perhaps my biggest PTSD moment.
When I think about women and kids being abused during this pandemic, I can feel how small their home must be to them. I can feel the pain, the fear, the stress, and the depression they are feeling right now. These victims are feeling incredibly trapped, to the point they cannot breathe. It physically makes me ache for these women and children. As a survivor, I want to raise awareness about this.
We need to do our part to raise awareness about this shadow pandemic. Join me!