How Domestic Violence Against Women During Covid has Changed
While Covid is on the decrease around the country and we are seeing fewer cases, there has been a phenomenon working behind the scenes that has come to light.
There is a new term being used to describe the current state of domestic violence against women: the “Shadow Pandemic.” This is a wave of recent reports on violence being perpetrated against women in the home, out in public, and while at work due to the changing Covid restrictions that happened all over the world.
The research study coining this phrase showed a surprising factor that should shift how everyone views domestic violence. When fewer bystanders are there to report the incident, it tends to not get reported. The same is valid for the interruption. Few innocents, non-related people who witness the attack will stop what is happening, causing way more harm to women.
The more everyone stayed indoors and away from one another, the more leeway there was for men to openly abuse their wives, sisters, daughters, and any other woman they wished to take out their frustrations on.
The Dangers to Women - “Behind Closed Doors”
According to the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, domestic violence cases increased by 25-33% globally in 2020. That is a massive leap in violence against an intimate partner, and that only represents the cases that got reported. Almost everyone has someone in their life they know had a dangerous or violent conflict in their past that was never reported to the police.
It is estimated that nearly half of all domestic violence and abuse go unreported. When you stack that statistic with the sharp increase in new numbers, you have an epidemic of violence against women all because we were forced indoors or away from the movie theaters, gyms, and bars where we would typically get out our emotions.
Intimate partner violence does not have to be physical. Contrary to popular media and TV shows, domestic violence can be from psychological, sexual, and mental abuse that degrades another human being. Approximately one in four women experience intimate partner violence in the US alone.
What Did Covid Do for the Safety of Women?
When we were forced indoors, many couple relationships essentially became a pressure cooker. Instead of getting the regular release from other activities, we were faced with the challenges of hate, anger, pent-up aggression, and more. This does not excuse the behavior. If anything, it only proves that violence is never the answer.
Covid by itself did not make a sudden abuser out of a relationship, but it does exacerbate the underlying causes that lead to abuse. Fights about money, parenting, stress, and life became way more front of mind and the opportunity to step away and seek refuge in the welcome arms of friends, community members, pastors, therapists, and anyone else willing to listen was essentially removed.
Calls to domestic hotlines increased during Covid, with many abuse shelters and food pantries reporting an increased need for aid for women in domestic violence situations. Unfortunately, access to these services was made so much more difficult by the constant media spin by politicians, endlessly ratcheting up what was already a tense moment in our history.
All of these factors led to the Shadow Pandemic, where we are still feeling and measuring the effects. Even today, when the restrictions being placed on most communities are at an all-time low, we are unlikely to see the full repercussions of our actions for at least a decade.
Women, Get Help Now!
If you or someone you know is currently experiencing a domestic violence situation, please call the national hotline at 1-800-799-7233. This toll-free number can connect you with the resources you need to get help.
If you are looking for more aid in preparing your finances for a future separated from your partner, reach out to the expert team at Meyers Financial Services. We specialize in helping women prepare and manage their financial situation and independence. Our experts know how to advise and guide your economic pathway forward out of this challenging situation into a more stable and hopefully safer future.
Lillian Meyers CFP®, CDFA®, EA is a Financial Planner for Women in Sonoma, California helping clients live their best life through the use of financial planning, investment management, and other sophisticated financial options.