Support for Victims and Survivors
“Stay Home, Stay Safe.” That’s been the advice we’ve all been given for weeks on end. And while staying at home is helping to flatten the curve, unfortunately it’s a scary prospect for millions around the globe. In the United States alone the NCBI estimates as many as 30% of adult women and 10% of children are exposed to domestic violence each year. For them, COVID-19 poses multiple risks.
Stay-at-home orders and social distancing recommendations have pushed victims into spending more time with their abusers. Extended isolation means dwindling connections to any support networks victims may have had, allowing abusers to manipulate them without interference from family, teachers, or coworkers.
While COVID-19 has certainly worsened situations like these, resources to help are still available.
Survivors of domestic abuse often take several attempts to leave before they are successful. Abusers excel at manipulating victims into believing they are the real problem, or the abuser isn’t “always abusive,” or didn’t mean it, or deserves a second chance. This kind of psychological warfare can be very difficult to overcome. Before victims can do something about their situation, they first must come to terms with the realities of what’s happening to them.
Once they do decide to leave, many victims feel helpless to change their circumstances on their own. It’s not uncommon for victims to be financially dependent on their abuser. Repeated statements of worthlessness by abusers may also cause victims to feel as though no one would be willing to help them even if they did leave. Reaching out to people in this situation can quite literally save lives. Let them know you’re there and willing to help. Currently there’s also a misconception that shelters and support groups have closed their doors due to COVID-19, but that’s rarely the case. Be sure to check your local organizations to confirm. Even if they are closed, reach out to them for available resources.
If you know of someone ready to leave an abusive situation, encourage them to create a safety plan. It should include steps they’ll take to physically remove themselves from the situation, but also plan for what to do after breaking free. Here are some examples:
- How do they intend to leave?
- Do they have a car? If not can a friend help create a pickup plan?
- If they do have a car keep a full tank of gas and always park so they can leave quickly.
- Keep car keys easily accessible and consider making a secret copy to hide nearby.
- Can they gather important documents to take with them?
Once they’ve left, having documents such as their birth certificate, immigration papers, passport, etc. can make the transition easier. When children are involved it’s even more crucial to create a plan.
For more information about helping a loved one in an abused relationship, check out the video below from domesticshelters.org:
At HERO™ Defense Systems, we prioritize the safety of our customers above all. While avoiding attackers is the first line of defense, we know some of them are people we know and trust. If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, we urge you to call the 24 hour National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, visit www.thehotline.org, or text LOVEIS to 22522. If there is immediate danger, always call 911.
We wish you all the best for you and your family. Our company was founded on one core principal: to improve the overall safety of millions by lowering violence. No one deserves to be afraid. No one deserves to be abused. Together we can help make our communities a safe place for everyone. Thank you for your support and belief in this vision!