The increase in domestic violence during the pandemic was expected

A+woman+holds+a+sign+before+the+start+of+the+Take+Back+the+Night+event+last+year.+The+event+is+survivor-centered+to+raise+awareness+for+domestic+violence%2C+honor+the+memory+of+loved+ones+lost+to+domestic+violence%2C+and+show+survivors+that+they+are+not+alone.+%5BO-D+FILE+PHOTO%5D

A woman holds a sign before the start of the Take Back the Night event last year. The event is survivor-centered to raise awareness for domestic violence, honor the memory of loved ones lost to domestic violence, and show survivors that they are not alone. [O-D FILE PHOTO]

Jazmin Taha, Co-Sports Editor

During the stay at home order, there have been many articles and people on social media discussing how mental health issues are on the rise and domestic violence cases are as well.

The government should have taken this into consideration and should have made it a key element in their plan to get COVID-19 under control in the United States.

Forcing people to stay home to flatten the curve gives victims no way out. Anyone could have seen this coming, domestic violence goes up whenever families spend more time together.

Studies can tell you that.

According to the New York Times, “Now, with families in lockdown worldwide, hotlines are lighting up with abuse reports, leaving governments trying to address a crisis that experts say they should have seen coming”.

The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres tweeted, “I urge all governments to put women’s safety first as they respond to the pandemic,” as the UN called for urgent action to combat the worldwide surge in domestic violence.

There are reports that domestic violence hotlines in China, Italy, Britain, Spain and France have had a rise in distressing calls following their announcement of lockdowns.

The United States should have prepared for it. Everyone else was exposing the increase, why would we be the exception?

To be clear, domestic violence isn’t limited to physical abuse. The New York Times states it also includes “isolation from friends, family and employment; constant surveillance; strict, detailed rules for behavior; and restrictions on access to such basic necessities as food, clothing, and sanitary facilities.”

Home isolation is key in reducing the spread of infection during this pandemic; however, it gives more power to the abuser. They already have one thing in their favor: the victim can’t go anywhere.

Courts are closed and divorce is out of the question for the time being. Police are supposed to be on the lookout for signs of domestic violence but by everyone being forced to stay indoors, who will be able to see anyone being abused?

With the strain on mental health that the pandemic brings, who knows what the abusers will be capable of?

Studies show that abusers are most likely to murder their partners during times of major personal trauma or a financial struggle.

Do we need to wait for someone to murder their partner before we take the issue more seriously?

COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on the economy as well and a financial crisis isn’t that far behind. Add that on top of the emotional stress present from the lockdown these worst-case scenarios aren’t that far off.

We need to check up on our friends and loved ones now more than ever and find a way to help each other deal with the trauma that this pandemic brings. Send a text just to check-in and use Facetime or Skype to get some one-on-one time.

It is harder to find out who the victims of domestic violence are since we can’t have face-to-face interactions with others.

Besides marks of physical abuse, there are other characteristics to look out for. For example, some emotional signs are low self-esteem, extremely apologetic or meek, seeming fearful, changes in sleep habits, agitation and loss of interest in daily activities.

We need to be vigilant and try to help victims and potential victims to the best of our ability.