Due to COVID-19 stay at home orders and lockdowns over the last few months, there has been a major rise in gender-based violence nationally and internationally. Staying home, or in quarantine, doesn’t always mean staying safe for people in our community who are living with abusers in isolation, stress, and uncertainty – especially survivors and victims of marginalized communities.
Red flags of unhealthy relationships during COVID-19 can vary. Sometimes we recognize unhealthy signs in our relationships or see them in others, and it is important not to ignore them. One Love, an organization and healthy relationship resource connected with Solid Ground’s Broadview Emergency Shelter & Transitional Housing for domestic violence (DV) survivors, recently created a document entitled What Unhealthy Relationships Look Like During COVID-19 – a helpful resource that identifies signs of unhealthy relationships and provides examples of what those signs may look like during COVID-19.
Right now, it is especially important to stay in contact with your close friends and family. The Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence has created a friends and family guide filled with tips and tools to help someone who is experiencing abuse in their relationship. They also provide ways you can take care of yourself while supporting someone. If someone discloses that they are experiencing domestic violence, the most important thing you can do is listen and believe them.
Some helpful phrases you can use include:
- “I believe you.”
- “I am sorry this is happening to you.”
- “Thank you for sharing this.”
- “I don’t even know what to say right now, but I am so glad you told me.”
- “It’s not your fault.”
- “You don’t deserve this.”
- “You are not alone.”
- “Thank you for telling me.”
Validating a survivor’s feelings, letting them make their own choices, and acknowledging all the things they are doing well to keep themselves safe is central to their empowerment and safety planning. The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1.888.799.7233 is available 24/7 via calling, chat, or text for support, and can connect callers to local community resources.
Below are a few additional resources that may be helpful in supporting survivors who are experiencing abuse and harm during this time and always.
- Safety Planning: Making a safety plan is a way for you to prepare yourself for a possible future violent or abusive incident. Click on this link to start creating a personalized plan for how to get to safety in an emergency.
- MyPlanApp: This phone app features a risk assessment tool that will help you create a personalized safety plan tailored to your specific needs and experiences. Available on Android and IOS.
Check back with us next month for information on talking with your children/teens about domestic violence.