Supporting Survivors of Domestic Violence During COVID-19 and Beyond
“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” ― Maya Angelou
While the current state of the globe may have imposed limits to the way we connect with one another, it shouldn’t limit resources for those living with abuse. Join us as we stand tall in supporting survivors of domestic violence.
COVID-19 has rearranged our lives. March arrived, stay-at-home mandates were ushered in, and nothing was ever quite the same. Suddenly, connection with our lovers, friends, and family members took on an entirely different meaning. No longer can we swing by a friend’s house just because we’re in the area. Moving during a pandemic has a host of concerns. The ending of relationships holds even more weight, with experts noting the implications of break-ups during COVID-19 can result in heightened feelings of grief. Simply put: Life has become more complicated. Yet, how do these complications translate to survivors of domestic violence? COVID-19 has presented those living with abuse a wealth of complexities. It has never been easy to leave an unsafe relationship, yet this rings true now more than ever. However, hope is not lost. Let’s explore how we can support domestic violence survivors, not only now, but always.
Let’s begin with those in our immediate community we’re worried about. Perhaps you have a friend you’ve noticed has become increasingly more withdrawn or avoids talking on the phone whenever their partner is around. Maybe this friend has disclosed fear of their partner or has been in an unsafe relationship in the past. Regardless of what is raising a red flag, you’ve clocked it and are wondering how you can support them as they navigate what is best for them during this time. You can simply ask how they’re feeling in their relationship. If they’re expressing fear regarding their safety, inquiring about what they need from you directly is a safe space to start. Perhaps they need to get out of the house occasionally – in which case, you two can plan a socially-distant and safe meet-up. Or, they may feel called to seek the support of a therapist but feel scared to take the first step and could use your help finding a good fit. If they would like to seek community, directing them to a local domestic violence organization can be a good first step in finding a support group.
What can be done about domestic violence in the world? Roll up your sleeves, it is time to get to work. First up, you can donate to nonprofits and social service organizations. We love Los Angeles-based Jenesse Center for the incredible work they’ve been doing for decades – they even have their own hotline at 800-479-7328. There’s also this list of 22 organizations you can explore and support directly as well – one may even be in your neighborhood. If money is tight, no worries. Many organizations are still seeking the support of volunteers during COVID-19 and are offering remote options. Don’t be afraid to ask how you can support the fight against domestic violence with the resources you have available – whether that is time, money, or social reach.
If you personally are feeling unsafe in your relationship, help awaits. Seeking support from the National Domestic Violence Hotline offers the opportunity to connect with a trained advocate who can help you navigate next steps for your safety. They can be reached on the telephone at 1-800-799-7233 or via chat at thehotline.org. You can also receive support by simply texting LOVEIS to 22522.
“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” ― Rumi