The word “domestic” relates to the home, and in 2020, more people are staying home. Whether you’re working remotely, laid off, or you’re avoiding going outside as much, the pandemic has made everyone stay home.
The problem that arises when you’re all cooped up in a house is the increase in arguing. Divorces are going up, and climbing alongside them is the increase in domestic violence. Let’s look at why this is happening and what can be done.
Everyone is Stressed
- Let’s be clear: being stressed is no excuse to hurt someone. However, the sad truth is that too many people let out their stresses through violence. The world right now is stressful, and for several reasons, including:
- The fear of catching the virus. If you live in an area with a large outbreak, or you always read horror stories about it, you may stress constantly about what is going on.
- Many places still remain closed. Some kids can’t go to school. People can’t go on trips and enjoy themselves. This can create stress.
- People losing their jobs. Being unemployed is a big reason why someone may feel stressed.
- Everyone is cooped up in the home and people feel like they have no privacy. Even if you love your spouse and your family, you may only be able to handle them in small doses.
These are several causes of stress. When someone is stressed, they can be more hostile and argumentative. Even a person who is not violent may start to become aggressive due to the pandemic. Those who have had a history of abuse can grow even worse.
More People Are Drinking
One thing that has increased because of COVID-19 is alcohol use. Drinking too much is a definite culprit with domestic violence, especially if someone is prone to being an angry drunk. Having an occasional drink isn’t going to be anything to worry about, but if someone is always drinking, it can mean they are prone to being more argumentative and more prone to violence. When someone is drinking too much, it’s important they seek help for alcohol addiction.
Less Access to Therapy
Because of the pandemic, many people are afraid to go to counseling and don’t want to try online therapy. With domestic violence, many people who inflict it do so due to a slow buildup of grievances. Counseling is a good way for a couple to express their issues in a healthy manner, but when there’s no place to do that, a person may have violent outbursts.
What You Can Do
If you’re in a relationship, it’s important that you look for the signs of someone who is potentially a domestic abuser. If they start threatening you or being verbally abusive, this can be a sign that domestic violence is coming. If they have explosive anger, this can be a sign. If your significant other takes it out on your pets, that’s another sign.
If you’re in a big household, remember that it happens to men, too. It’s important to watch all family members and see whether or not they’re at risk of hurting someone.
If You’re a Victim
If you are in immediate danger, contact the National Domestic Hotline at 800-799-7233 (SAFE.) The hotline can give advice and information about shelters. Find a place that’s safe and try to contact a family member or friend. Have some important documents ready in case you need to leave.
For those who aren’t in immediate danger but see the signs, you can download apps such as MyPlan to help analyze your partner’s behavior and be connected to resources should your partner be exhibiting all the signs of a domestic abuser.
If your partner or family member appears to be showing the signs, counseling can prevent any incidents from happening. It can even teach the potential abuser healthy ways to cope with the world at the moment.
Many people are rightfully afraid of seeing a therapist in-person, and that’s why online therapy resources are here to help. Websites such as ReGain are helpful for couples who are in a toxic situation to get out of it. When you are feeling like the world is falling apart, seeking help can allow you to pick up the pieces.
While the full impact of COVID-19 and domestic violence is still unknown, there’s no doubt that staying home more often can lead to domestic violence. If you are a victim, you are never at fault, and the culprit has no excuse to hit you. Should anything arise, seeking help and leaving the home, even during a pandemic, may be a good move for you to make. We hope you are happy and healthy in your home.