We examined all the sides and nuances of abuse and found out the most important thing – basically, you need to run from someone who uses their fist, shoots their mouth off or hurts you in any other way. However, abusive relationships under quarantine are a special story.
In many countries, there has been an increase in the number of victims of domestic violence seeking protection under quarantine conditions up to 30%. Why is there an increase in violence?
- Excessive alcohol consumption.
Increased general anxiety about society, restrictions, and increasing uncertainty – all of that makes emotionally unstable individuals, which often includes abusers, resort to a tried and tested means of relieving tension. Stress isn’t really relieved by alcohol, whereas disinhibition increases, which provokes a surge of aggression “out of the blue.”
2. Anger at the circumstances, the government, the situation in general.
That’s another reason. It’s naturally impossible to direct aggression “towards the responsible parties”, but there are those nearby to whom it can easily be redirected.
3. Blurred social barriers and rules.
During tense periods like the war, there’s a feeling that nobody is gonna pay attention to all sorts of “trifles” – you can loot, commit atrocities, act in a disorderly manner and so on. On a global scale, no one’s gonna notice this, which means that you can use your fists, no one’ll know.
4. A high number of irritants.
There are a lot of irritants in a confined space: screaming children, stupid neighbors who apparently decided to do some renovations, and you can’t get away from the sounds of a drill, the requirement to order some kind of electronic passes, the inability to engage the usual pleasures like meeting friends or visiting a sports bar (or a lover) on Fridays. All of this naturally elevates the stress levels and increases the likelihood of an “explosion.”
The quarantine forces us to be in a confined space with members of our family, with almost no opportunity to leave, get out of the home for long, “change location” at any time. If everything is fine within the family, then there are no particular problems, although even in “normal” families, spending 24 hours a day with each other can be difficult. But what if the aggressor and the victim were together and there is literally no way to leave right now? How can you reduce potential risks?
- Follow the rules of the aggressor, don’t provoke him, “get away” from the scandals as much as possible, agree with them and minimize conflicts.
Since a confined system dictates certain safety rules, they should be observed. Of course, the exception is a threat to your health and safety – nothing needs to be “minimized” here, you only need to save yourself.
- Since the aggressor’s ego suffers great damage under quarantine measures, it’s necessary to balance this effect as much as possible: to praise, to support, to divert their attention away from his helplessness to what they’re capable of. A sort of manipulation that can protect them from “going nuts”.
- Separate yourself geographically if possible. You can go to your mom’s (great), to the country (excellent). “Of course, it’s for your sake, honey, it’s hard for you to work in such conditions.”
- Don’t criticize, don’t argue, “don’t notice” an unpleasant word in time. If there’s a good reason for physical harm, play along with the abuser so that it doesn’t end with a beating.
- Keep in mind that the abusers rarely fully fall for an agreement with them, they need “release”, therefore, it’s OK to allow “controlled” small provocations that cause conflict and give the abuser their “release”. Here, you need to focus on what you know about the aggressor, there are no universal recommendations.
- Put together a “panic bag” with papers and the necessary things in case it’s necessary to quickly get out (run), and grab the passports (yours and the children’s), the medical insurance policy – it might be necessary for staying in a temporary shelter.
- Enlist the support of friends who are definitely on your side, come up with a “code word”, after hearing which in a telephone conversation or seeing in a text, they’ll understand that you need immediate help. An action plan for this scenario needs to be agreed in advance.
And most importantly: all of this can only be temporary measures to survive a difficult period with minimal losses. People can get together and survive the difficult times of a pandemic, war, crisis, some kind of emergency – but living in these conditions permanently is impossible. Otherwise, this is not living, but surviving.