Apparently someone had the same thought I did

I hope all of you are safe and are taking appropriate social distancing measures. Michael’s classes are now canceled till May at least. Our friend Leslie, an aide at the residential center, still has to work and says there’s a lot of board games and coloring going on, now that the kids aren’t in class. Anything to keep them busy.

Everyone I know is well.

Not much else to say here, except that Rachel Snyder, author of an awesome book I’ve read called No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us, has done an editorial about how social distancing is going to be quite perilous for people currently in a violent relationship. From the editorial:

National and community crises historically have led to increased reports of domestic abuse. During the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the National Domestic Violence Hotline saw a 13% increase in calls from the Gulf area from April to June 2010. New Orleans and Lafayette, two of the largest communities affected by the spill, saw increases to their hotlines of 81% and 116%, respectively, during that same period. Hurricane Katrina too saw domestic assaults against women nearly double, and both men and women reported increases of psychological abuse.

This all sounds grim, but many of these situations involve couples who were not in healthy relationships to begin with. On a call from her Baltimore home, Jacquelyn Campbell, a professor from the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing and the country’s foremost researcher in domestic violence, was careful to point out that someone who is not psychologically or physically abusive before a crisis like coronavirus is not going to suddenly become violent. “This is not like anything I’ve lived through,” she said, “and my hypothesis is that any kind of horrific anything externally can exacerbate domestic violence.”

Campbell created a danger assessment decades ago that many programs now use to try to predict a domestic homicide before it happens. The stressors identified that make a situation lethal are the same whether we are in a pandemic or not: guns in the home, forced sex, unemployment and, most notably, prior incidents of domestic violence.

But the research on how domestic violence might be affected by our current situation simply does not exist. When an entire society shuts down, when children are home all day from school, when sports and gyms and social activities are all canceled, when friends can’t leave their own families to help, when places of worship are shuttered, when everything that ever tempered a violent situation is suddenly, terrifyingly, no longer available. What happens then?

She doesn’t know.

4 thoughts on “Apparently someone had the same thought I did

  1. MJ March 20, 2020 / 10:07 am

    My girlfriend is a domestic abuse survivor. When I met her over 9 years ago she was with this real scumbag who beat her with just about anything he could get his hands on. He also tried a few times to get in my face thinking he could intimidate me as he did her. Nope. He had the wrong bitch there. To make a long story short, he and I had a nice little visit to the magistrate after he thought he was going to get away with his shenanigans. Then he died in a car accident 4 days before my birthday in 2015. I truly do not wish death on anyone, but what a relief to so many people. Dealing with that was more annoying than anything. I was never afraid of him, no matter his threats. When confronted they mostly shrivel up into the little raisin of a man they truly are. My favorite part of taking him to court was he and I sitting together waiting for the magistrate. Ironically he had nothing to say to me then, the big man that he was. WAS. I like to give karma the credit here.

  2. doc March 20, 2020 / 3:00 pm

    It’s very important to keep this in mind. Good post.

  3. James Christ March 20, 2020 / 5:43 pm

    Cabin fever…it affects all of us. Unfortunately, it gets to some with negative consequences. Good post, Meghan.

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