The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting everyone. Although the lockdown rules may vary from state to state, various restrictions have made everyone’s lives slightly more uncomfortable.
However, there are some discomforts that are suffered in silence, only to be made worse by being on lockdown. The pandemic has made those suffering from domestic violence and abuse even more vulnerable.
But there is help available. Fifth Street Counseling Center offers supportive programs aimed at helping those affected by domestic violence. There are also steps that you can take to make you feel safer at home.
What Is Domestic Violence & Abusive Behavior?
Florida’s domestic violence statistics are disheartening, to say the least. In 2018, nearly 105,000 cases of domestic violence were reported, with nearly 65,000 of these cases resulting in arrests.
Being the victim of abuse, or even the abuser, can introduce feelings of shame and guilt. It’s these feelings that prevent people from coming forward and seeking help. It’s important to be able to identify what constitutes domestic violence and understand the channels of help available.
Domestic violence is not only limited to physical abuse – although physical abuse certainly is considered domestic violence. Did you know that the following acts are also considered domestic violence?
- Physical harm including slapping, hitting, squeezing, burning and twisting (among others physical acts)
- Causing emotional turmoil
- Using your children as leverage against you
- Causing harm to pets within the home
- Behaving with extreme jealousy or possessiveness, and isolating you from friends and family
- Threatening self-harm as a manipulation tactic
- Controlling your finances or withholding medical help
- Habits of stalking
- Demanding sexual acts
- Using various forms of control such as gestures, looks, hiding assistive devices and threats
Are You A Victim Of Domestic Violence?
Your home should be a safe place to return to at the end of each day and a space where you can feel secure while practicing social distancing and staying home.
If you ever feel that any of the above-listed behavior is being directed towards yourself, then you may be the victim of domestic violence or abuse.
How To Plan A Safe Escape?
It’s natural to experience feelings of fear or concern if you find yourself in an unsafe position. It’s important to understand that being a victim doesn’t undermine your strength, and the lockdown does not mean that there is nowhere to turn to for help.
There are times when your partner will promise that things will change. Or that it’s the “last time.” And while their intentions may be true, domestic abuse can be the result of chronic behavior issues.
Making the decision to leave an abusive relationship, or seek help, is nothing to make you feel shameful or embarrassed. There are a few steps to take within the home that will help keep you safe within the home.
- Learn to identify your abuser’s red flags. If you predict that your abuser may get upset or explode with anger, you have time to come up with a believable reason to leave the house beforehand.
- Get familiar with safe areas inside your house. Avoid small spaces without easy exits, and rooms with weapons.
- Share a special code word with your friends and family to safely let them know that you’re in danger.
- Constantly be ready to leave. Make sure that you have your keys in a place that is easily accessible, and make sure that you have fuel in your car. To be extra prepared, you can also make sure that you have extra cash handy.
- Memorize emergency contacts. These numbers can come to be your saving grace in a moment of need.
In addition to these steps, there are experienced counseling organizations that have professional batterer intervention programs to help the abuser and counseling for the victims. Domestic abuse is not acceptable under any circumstances, and we’re here to help.
What To Do In The Case of COVID
Restrictions related to COVID-19 can make an already stressful home situation even tenser. At Fifth Street Counseling Center, we’re dedicated to providing a solution for those who are in an abusive relationship.We’re offering video counseling services for those in need. Alternatively, you can call us at (954) 797-5222 to find out more.