Most in the U.S. are on week 3 or more of “social distancing,” or perhaps even a mandated “shelter-in,” and the New York Times is now reporting on an unanticipated and tragic result of the pandemic-protection guidelines: a rise in domestic violence and child abuse.
Domestic violence is up around the world, reports the story, leaving overstretched hotlines and shelters scrambling to find help for women caught in abusive relationships. In China, one woman was reportedly told that someone would be there to help her “after the crisis.” In Italy, abuse reports began to soar soon after implementation of mandatory lockdowns. “Shelters could not take them because the risk of infection was too great,” reports the Times, so local officials were told they could use empty hotel rooms as temporary places for victims to go. France and Spain soon followed suit. And on Sunday, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres wrote on Twitter, “I urge all governments to put women’s safety first as they respond to the pandemic.”
This shouldn’t, according to many experts, have been surprising. In many ways this pandemic produces the perfect environment for abuse. Stress, financial worries, and fear of the virus itself combine in a scenario wherein individuals are living with each other literally 24/7, with nowhere to go. Tensions are high, and people snap.
It continues here.