How the Quarantine is Affecting Victims of Domestic Violence?

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Let’s picture the time before the quarantine. Domestic violence and child abuse was very
common in Pakistani households with 25-30% of women having suffered some form of abuse in
their lifetime according to a study conducted in 2009 by Human Rights Watch.
However the situation now is that both victims and abusers are isolated with each other. Victims would now
not get any time away from their abusers during which they felt secure, safe, and free from the
fear of abuse. Victims have lost the opportunity to seek for help, which was during the time their
abusers weren’t at home.
Apart from women, there are many children who suffer from child abuse. School and outdoor
activities were their escape from the toxic family and abuse. With the closure of schools, it is a
prediction that the mental health of women and child victims of domestic abuse will deteriorate.
God forbid if this results in an increase in suicide rates. In China
#AntiDomesticViolenceDuringEpidemic has been trending on the Chinese social media platform
Sina Weibo. In Hubei, an anti-violence non-profit works for the benefit of such victims. The
founder stated that since the cities went into lockdown reports of domestic violence had doubled.
This does not include women who were unable to seek help from the non-profit due to no time
away from the abuser.
As cities over the world go into lockdown because of the pandemic, concerns are mounting that
domestic violence will increase. The irony is, we cannot do much to help during this situation
when people have been advised not to come out of their homes. Even in a large city like New
York, domestic violence service providers have shut-down in-person operations to contain the
virus spread. They have resorted to online sessions, phone consultations, and hotlines to help the
victims.
What can we do to help?
If you are a neighbor or a relative who knows about the victims, it is your duty to keep in touch
with them and follow through in this situation. Who knows, your palliation might be the reason
they forgo any plans for suicide or self-harm because of deteriorating mental health conditions. If
you can, connect them to an online psychologist with whom they can share their concerns and
clam down in the current situation before the city reopens.
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