According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), abuse affects 25% of women, 14% of children, and 10% of men each year. During the COVID-19 pandemic, attention has been brought on this topic as lockdown and social distancing measures have created obstacles to receiving help.
The stress and uncertainty related to the pandemic combined with close proximity to family members may explain why abusers are more likely to act out during this time. Those who were in abusive relationships prior to the pandemic may not feel that they currently have the resources to leave toxic environments. Additionally, abusers’ behavior may be aggravated by the pandemic. Risk factors include:
- Financial difficulties
- Drug and/or alcohol use
- PTSD or hypervigilance
- Work struggles
If you are unsure if your current situation is safe, consider the following warning signs of a toxic environment: Someone in your residence is…
- being repeatedly verbally or emotionally hurtful
- threatening you
- having episodes of explosive anger
- harming animals
If you are a victim of abuse or are concerned that your living situation is not safe, there are resources where you can receive help:
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline ( call 1-800-799-SAFE)
- Emotional Abuse Textline (text HOME to 741741)
- National Child Abuse Hotline (text/call 1-800-422-4453)
- National Sexual Assault Hotline (call 800-656-HOPE)
- Call your local Police Department, 911
- Go to your local Emergency Room
If you are in danger, please do not hesitate to get help immediately through the resources listed above, or other emergency resources.
If you are in a safe place, counseling may be a good option for you to start working on building a new life.