Updated: Aug 24, 2020
The corona virus pandemic continues and we all pray that nations around the world bring this pandemic under control within the next few months.
I am in China and here in Beijing the lockdown is beginning to cease after almost three months of strict procedures, now the concern at this time of writing is a second wave induced through imported cases from outside, which is why foreigners are currently unable to enter China. The pandemic is centred on the rest of the world.
The social effects of the Corona Virus lockdown have revealed a dramatic rise in shocking domestic violence statistics, publically announced yesterday in the United Kingdom by Priti Patel, the Home Secretary. Ptiti said that all support services were operating and promised assistance was available for anyone at risk.
This is a topic close to my heart and it mostly happens to women.
The UK’s largest domestic abuse charity, Refuge, has reported a 700% increase in calls to its helpline in a single day. It must be very, very difficult for those trapped in the horrific cycle of abuse, with nowhere to go during the lockdown. Everyone deserves a home that is safe and free from violence. If someone assaults a person in the street then they get arrested, yet for many women there is no safe haven.
This surely is not just a situation isolated to the United Kingdom.
Various national studies show that up to 70 per cent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime. In the Middle East and North Africa, men who witnessed their fathers using violence against their mothers, and men who experienced some form of violence at home as children, were significantly more likely to report perpetrating intimate partner violence in their adult relationships. For example, in Lebanon the likelihood of perpetrating physical violence was more than three times higher among men who had witnessed their fathers beating their mothers during childhood than those who did not.
It is estimated that of the 87,000 women who were intentionally killed in 2017 globally, more than half (50,000- 58 per cent) were killed by intimate partners or family members, meaning that 137 women across the world are killed by a member of their own family every day. More than a third (30,000) of the women intentionally killed in 2017 were killed by their current or former intimate partner.
Domestic violence can be physical or psychological and while every relationship is different, domestic violence typically involves an unequal power dynamic in which one partner tries to assert control over the other in a variety of ways. Victims of domestic violence experience diminished self-worth, anxiety, depression, and a general sense of helplessness that can take time and often professional help to overcome.
Abusers aren’t easy to spot. They hide in plain sight, often exhibiting Jekyll and Hyde behaviour. In public, they seem smart, trustworthy, and charming with a personality that draws people in, but in private, they are a waking nightmare.
Many abusers learn violence from their family of origin and repeat the toxic patterns with their own partner and/or children. Abusers often isolate their victims from family, friends, work, and any other outside sources of support.
The Abuse Cycle and the issues of power and control are essential to an understanding of Domestic Violence which normally goes like this;
Build up phase - The tension builds.
Stand over phase - Verbal attacks increase.
Explosion phase - A violent outburst occurs.
Remorse phase - You shouldn't have pushed me, it was your fault!
Pursuit phase - It will never happen again, I promise.
Honeymoon phase - See, we don't have any problems.
We all need to collectively make this age old cycle of abuse stop. The change can only come from within us; mothers, daughters and sons.
Cindy Sherman, Untitled #92, 1981
unwomen.org - facts and figures: Ending violence against women