According to a recent article published in the journal Psychology Today, there has been a “stark uptick in reports of domestic violence and abuse” during this COVID-19 pandemic. Those who are suffering from domestic violence need to know why this is occurring, what they can do if they are a victim of domestic abuse, and resources that are available to help them.
Domestic violence perpetrators commonly use isolation as a way to assert control over their victim. The isolation orders issued by states and cities during this pandemic make it easy for this to happen. It makes it “normal” for the victim not to have contact with anyone who they can confide in or seek help from. The victim begins to believe the abuse is normal.
The isolation causes the victim to rely on their abuser in ways they would not rely on them without the isolation. The article notes that “Severe and persistent isolation can cause victims to rely solely on their abusers to define a sense of reality, which feeds into a cycle of abuse that is very difficult to escape.”
Someone who is experiencing domestic violence should call 9-1-1 if they are able to. Normally, if the police respond to a domestic violence call and the perpetrator is arrested, there will be a magistrate’s emergency protective order that goes into effect immediately. The order lasts long enough for the victim to seek a more lasting protective order from the court which can protect them against future episodes of family violence.
The police will offer a pamphlet to leave with the victim of the different resources available for their protection from the abuser. There are many shelters in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and the victim should ask the police for ways to contact one.
Other sources of help for domestic violence victims are National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233, National Parent Helpline 1-855-427-2736 and Crisis Text Line – text 741741 to connect with a crisis counselor.
Often, the victim of family violence is manipulated into either recanting the charges, or in not pursuing their testimony in a protective order proceeding. We encourage victims to stay strong. Studies show that once family violence begins, it does not stop. In fact, it tends to escalate.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, you may begin to think that it is your fault. If you just change your behavior, your abuser will stop abusing you. This is not true. We urge you to reach out for help before the abuse gets worse.