The pandemic has wreaked havoc in the world. It has not, however, been the virus alone that has impacted lives, but this year even domestic and sexual abuse has risen. Domestic abuse in India has always been an acute problem and the lockdown associated with COVID-19 made the situation even worse. It should be noted that more domestic violence allegations have been lodged by women in India during the four phases of the lockdown than have been recorded in a comparable period in the last 10 years. But even this unusual increase is just the tip of the iceberg, as 86% of women experiencing domestic abuse do not seek help, and 77% of victims did not even disclose the incident(s) to anyone. Data indicate that in 2020, 1,477 allegations of domestic abuse were made by women between March 25 and May 31 alone.
Unfortunately, this rise in domestic violence cases is not limited to just India. The lockdown brought the world to a standstill and also brought to a halt the lives of women all over the world who are in an abusive relationship. The same abuse was replicated and committed regularly and on a daily basis during the lockdown, if you look at reports worldwide.
Now the question is, what can you do?
By downplaying the severity of what they are doing to you, an abuser can try to manipulate you. As a consequence, the amount of danger you’re in is easy to underestimate. Protecting yourself from harm is really critical if you feel like you’re being abused. You’re never meant to do this alone. It’s very important to have support for you.
- Seek help from friends and family: It could be important for victims to call the police for assistance, as well as friends, family or neighbors of the victims. People should not be afraid to ask for urgent help; it is a felony to commit domestic violence. It will sometimes be necessary to call the police to make the attacker think twice before using violence in the future. If anyone calls the police, they ask for immediate protection in order to avoid the abuse. The police may investigate the call and can arrest the abuser, provide the victim with referral details for domestic violence services in the region and make a written report of the violence.
- Seek help from recognized institutions: To support people dealing with domestic violence, there are several programmes available. In the city, there are numerous hotlines and services for domestic abuse. These resources include counselling, emergency shelter and referrals. Via their local police department or domestic violence organizations, victims can seek help.
- Get Medical assistance: Medical care is needed for many injuries. For a full medical examination, victims who have been physically or sexually assaulted should see a doctor. In a legal case, a comprehensive medical report that records the injuries of the victim can be helpful.
- Develop a safety plan: If domestic abuse arises, making a plan to deal with an emergency or crisis is helpful. It is important for individuals to think about ways, both for themselves and their children, to have a safer atmosphere. Victims can plan how to quickly and safely get out of their house, so if abuse starts, they can do so. Very fine information such as where to keep keys, a purse and an additional set of clothes for a fast departure should be considered in this plan.
- Document the abuse that you experience if possible: Even if you do not report each incident to the police, in case you need them later, keep comprehensive records for yourself to have. Evidence of a pattern of violence may also assist you in securing custody or seeking restitution or imprisonment for the abuser. Evidence of violence will even assist you with obtaining a restraining order.