COVID-19 lockdown and domestic abuse

Man
Emphasis is currently being placed on people to self-isolate from their places of work and leisure, posing the home as a place of relative safety during the coronavirus pandemic. However, there is growing concern about what impact this might have on those trapped in intimate relationships with people who use violence and abuse.

For some people, home is not a safe place to be, so the prospect of large parts of the population being confined to prevent the spread of the coronavirus opens the potential for increased incidents of domestic violence.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned of a “horrifying global surge” in domestic violence during the coronavirus crisis and urged governments to step up efforts to prevent violence against women. Why only women though? Why not all people irrespective of gender? Violence and abuse is never ok. That applies equally whether the victim is a man or woman.

Figures suggest that as many as one in three victims of domestic violence are male, therefore it is important to ensure male victims are not left out from the anti-violence efforts.

Abuse of men happens in both heterosexual and same sex relationships. It happens to men from all cultures and all walks of life regardless of age or occupation. However, men are often reluctant to report abuse because they feel embarrassed, fear they won’t be believed, or are scared that their partner will take revenge.

Of course, domestic abuse is not limited to physical violence. Emotional and verbal abuse, blackmail, harassment, threats can be just as damaging.

Here are a few things to consider during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Understand that stress and anxiety does not cause domestic abuse but it may increase it in families where it is already being perpetrated. Acknowledge that this is an extremely unsafe time.
  • Check in with someone who you are personally worried about.
  • If it is safe to talk when you call, arrange a codeword or phrase that the victim can use if interrupted, eg if you need to end the call at any point please say “no, sorry I’m not interested in taking part in the survey”.
  • Where there is not a complete lockdown and people are still able to leave their houses to go for a walk if not ill or in quarantine, suggest they go for a walk as a “time out” technique to de-escalate the situation. If there is a complete lockdown then a garage or garden shed could also work.
  • Suggest they get evidence of the abuse. Report all incidents of physical abuse to the police and get a copy of each police report. Keep a journal of all abuse with a clear record of dates, times, and any witnesses. Include a photographic record of your injuries and make sure your doctor or hospital also documents your injuries.
  • Suggest they obtain advice from a domestic violence program or helpline available in your area.

And let’s stop making jokes about domestic violence and abuse like in that Russian video below called ‘In all houses in our country….” that depicts a woman abusing her partner for forgetting to wash the dishes, not watching the movie she wanted, not tidying up his clothes etc. a week after Putin’s call to the nation “Trust me, the safest place at the moment is at home” that appears at the end of the video.

Abuse is never fun no matter the victim’s gender!

Resources:

Image from Domestic violence debate dominated by women’s perspectives

Change your story, change your life…

You might have seen a video of this gifted LA subway singer that went viral. A truly beautiful lady with a tragic story. Given up for adoption at two, a gruelling Soviet childhood and a violent marriage…

Domestic violence often features in such tragic stories, often shapes such tragic lives… I had my personal experience with domestic violence. In my experience domestic violence is much more complex than historical example described by Dostoevsky more than a century ago. And not only ‘peasants’ are affected. My sister-in-law’s nose was broken once by her ex – he was a medical doctor by trade. ‘First do no harm’ says the Hippocratic Oath of ethics historically taken by physicians – yeah right…

Domestic violence knows neither geographic nor cultural borders.

Looking back I can see how my personal experience with domestic violence started shaping my life, shaping my story, leading to a bad end… Luckily I had a wonderful friend who made me stop, read and re-shape my story

Every day is an opportunity for you to change your life, to change your story. Change what you do not want in your life. Change what makes you unhappy. You have the power to change your thoughts and your thoughts have the power to change the story of your life….

Change.jpg

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Credits: Image from Change your story, Change your life.

The most beautiful people I’ve known…

Have you met such children in your life?
Or, may be, you’ve been one of them?

I was not “removed” – I stayed with my family –  well, with whatever was left of it by then… No one cared, no one noticed – it was better that way. I was ‘caught’ only a few times at school. Once I struggled with completing a test in writing because my hands were shaking too much. On another occasion I punched a girl. She saw my dad coming home drunk and started making silly jokes about that in front of the class. My fuse was short – my fist was fast… I was taken to the principal. He could not make any sense of it: “You’ve always been such a good quiet student, always getting the top marks, always listening to the teachers. I can’t understand why you did that?” I had nothing to say.

I never invited anyone to my place, I never talked to anyone about my family – except my only school friend Lucy and later Ivan.

From Digital Deconstruction

I felt very sorry for Lucy. She lived with her parents and her only sister. Her dad wanted to have sons – no luck. Both children turned out to be female. He never got over it, blaming them and their mum for that. He was often verbally and physically abusive – with both girls and their mother. I felt much luckier – at least, my dad was not bashing me.

Lucy’s sister got married as soon as she reached the ‘legal’ age, which was 18 – just to get away from her dad. Lucy ‘lasted’ a bit longer. She phoned me before her wedding day: “You might be surprised that I’m marrying a man who is 10 years older than I’m,” she said. “While it was the norm a century ago, I know it looks pretty weird nowadays. With a more mature dad, I hope my children will be growing in a better environment and won’t see the hell I went through as a child…”

From http://www.theguardian.com

Ivan’s dad was complete alcoholic. I saw him only once. He was so ‘marinated’ after decades of drinking, that it was even impossible to tell when he was drunk or sober, if he ever was sober. He was trying to say something friendly to me, but I could not understand even a single word. Poor Ivan needed to ‘translate’ for me from Russian to Russian. I felt very sorry for Ivan – my dad at least could still talk properly and was not always drunk.

Alex never talked about his family, but I had a feeling that there was a history of alcoholism in his family too, because Alex would never touch anything with alcohol, whether it was vodka, beer, wine or cider. Not a drop. For that reason, other lads were always mocking him with their usual ‘you are not a man if you are not drinking’ tune. My gender helped in those cases – as none of that ‘be a man’ crap applied to me I could easily get those lads ‘out of tune’ to shut them up.

From Russian Men Loosing Years to Vodka

Victoria was the only surprising exception. Her parents divorced when she was little. Her dad was married three times, her mum – twice. It always puzzled me how they all managed to maintain good relationships. Victoria lived with her mum, however if she needed her dad he was always there for her in the blink of an eye. She had very good relationship with all his children from other marriages – her half-sisters and half-brothers. Her step-dad treated her well too. May be, that’s why she turned into such a carefree chatter box with a beaming smile: always happy, always confident, always giggling…

I’m very proud of my friends. They did not have a good start in life, but they all managed to get their lives into a pretty good shape and provide safe, stable and loving environment for their children. It was a hard work – and still is I’m sure. However they never complained, they never blamed their fate, they never gave up and while steadily getting up on their feet, they never put anyone down.

I do admire their self-discipline, strength, determination and kind hearts. They are real heroes for me, the most beautiful people I’ve known.


From http://morethansayings.blogspot.co.nz

What about you?
Who are the most beautiful people in your life?

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