Home: a place to gather with those you love around a table and share a meal. A place to sit in the living room floor and play card games while sharing a bowl of popcorn. A place to lay your head down at night and rest, immune from the concerns of the world.
But what if home isn’t like this for you? What if, instead, home is a place where you fear for your life? What if it is a place where your self-esteem is torn down daily with phrases like, “You aren’t worthy,” or “you’re stupid,” or “you’re ugly. I am the only one who wants to be with you.” What if home is a place where every penny you make is taken from you, where documents indicating your identity are destroyed, where your communication from anyone other than the person you live with are stripped away?
During this COVID-19 outbreak, we ask you to remember those who have a different definition of home but are being forced to stay there anyway.
According to Time Magazine, one hotline call a domestic violence shelter received included a survivor of violence who was concerned that COVID-19 was just another excuse her abuser used to control her: “My husband won’t let me leave the house,” a victim of domestic violence, tells a representative for the National Domestic Violence Hotline over the phone. “He’s had flu-like symptoms and blames keeping me here on not wanting to infect others or bringing something like COVID-19 home. But I feel like it’s just an attempt to isolate me.”
During this time, the National Domestic Violence Hotline reports that a growing number of callers say that their abusers are using COVID-19 as a means of further isolating them from their friends and family.
As domestic violence hotlines increase, so does the need for safety planning, safe shelter, counseling services, legal advocacy, and more. These are all services we at the Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter are continuing to provide. We need your help and support to continue providing these services, we need you now more than ever. Please consider donating to us as we help survivors regain health and wholeness.