With people being confined together, sometimes in close quarters and for long periods of time you might think that there would be an up rise in reports of domestic violence, discord and domestic abuse. Imagine, people being thrown together for almost every hour of the day when they usually do not get along typically, even under normal circumstances. The scope of domestic violence is always difficult to measure, and it is particularly hard during a quarantine when family members are confined to homes, where a victim cannot easily sound the usual alarms or escape an abuser. Experts in the field of domestic abuse have opined that, in cases of quarantine, the rise in such abuse is masked by the simple fact that victims cannot use a telephone to call for help because they are being closely watched, monitored and controlled by their abuser. Recent statistics also indicate a slight increase in domestic abuse reports made by neighbors and other non-family members who may witness the domestic abuse. This increase in such reports has occurred when neighbors and others are usually reluctant to “get involved” except in serious incidences, if then. There have even been reports where the abuser has successfully pled their own plight for the victim to not call the authorities because the covid19 infection runs rampant in jails. The bottom line, therefore, according to experts is that domestic abuse and discord, while actually on the rise is simply not reported as often. I agree with the experts. In my years of experience, I cannot see it any other way. Domestic violence is simply not being reported as often because victims are not in a position in a quarantine setting to readily report the abuse discreetly or without fear of being caught doing so.
If you find yourself a victim under these circumstances, there are indeed ways to summons help or escape. I recently learned that one such domestic abuse victim called for a “pizza delivery”. However, instead of “Papa Doe’s Pizza” the victim dialed 911…. ordered a pizza with all the usual trimmings and gave their address. It didn’t take the 911 operator but a few seconds to understand there was an issue at that address and help was on the way. Another suggestion is to simply dial 911 and leave the phone on…you need not say a word. 911 operators are keen to realize there is a problem at that location and your address can usually be traced through your cellphone signal. Yet another alternative is to find an opportunity to run…. run to a neighbor, a public place such as a store, anywhere that may offer immediate protection. Abusers are generally cowards and in the face of witnesses they tend to be less aggressive, even docile. The key, however, is to just get out of harm’s way. Remember too, that even though our court system is closed for the most part, at least until the end of May, Orders of Protection and emergency child custody matters are unaffected and can be addressed as usual. Do not allow yourself or anyone in your home to be a captive abuse victim under any circumstance.