The violence and abuse hiding in plain sight

Usually when a business or an organization has a big influx of people coming in, and using its services, it is a great sign. However, last week when I wrote about the local safe house being opened up and running at full capacity, it was not really a moment to rejoice.

The implications of a safe house, meant for victims of domestic and household violence, running at full capacity are so disturbing.

On one hand, it is great that women and children are finding the support and shelter they need, but on the other hand, it is heartbreaking to see so many women and children having to turn towards a safe house for support in the first place.

The cases of household violence have reportedly increased during this pandemic’s quarantine and isolation.

I personally know people who used to find relief in going to work, or their partners going to work because that meant eight hours of mental and physical peace. With Covid restrictions and work from home, these victims are suddenly locked in the same house as their perpetrators, 24/7 giving the abusers more room to exert their power.

In Wuhan, just when the pandemic hit, a local police station recorded 162 reports of domestic violence just in February, which was three times more than the 47 cases reported last year during the same time.

Just last week, a report suggested that Vietnam had zero cases of Covid however the number of household violence cases against women and children were on a troubling rise.

In India, software engineer Lavanya Lahari from Hyderabad, committed suicide after being consistently abused by her husband. After her death, a video of her abuse was released by the family that was widely circulated on social media.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline in U.S., started maintaining the data for Covid-related domestic violence cases. They report a rise in calls citing Covid-related abuse by nine per cent. That might even seem like a small number to some, but when it comes to violence, abuse, even one case is one, too many.

Yes, the rise in the number of domestic and household violence is alarming and indicates that this issue is getting more serious everyday. And yet, there are still so many unreported cases — especially those who cannot find a moment alone from their abusers to even report the crime. It pains me to even think about victims who aren’t able to reach out to find support.

I want to urge everyone to keep your eyes open, to report if you notice any abuse, to reach out if you are being abused. There are resources out there, people, organizations, and all you need to do is reach out — either for yourself, or for someone who needs that helping hand.

Priyanka Ketkar
Multimedia journalist

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