Intimate Partner Violence, Child Abuse & COVID-19: How the Pandemic Has Put a Spotlight on Domestic Violence in the Home by Kathy Ast

Mental Health
3 years ago

Last month I did a TikTok video in honor of Domestic Violence (DV) Awareness Month. Even though DV is recognized every year, “the COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on numerous ongoing public health crises, including violence within the home,” according to an article in the New England Journal of Medicine

The article explains that with stay-at-home orders, an increase in intimate partner violence (IPV) was expected, however, in some regions the number of calls to DV hotlines dropped by 50 percent. “Experts in the field knew that rates of IPV had not decreased, but rather that victims were unable to safely connect with services."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (2015) found that one in four women and one in 10 men experience IPV, and violence can take various forms: 

  • physical
  • emotional
  • sexual
  • psychological

People of all races, cultures, genders, sexual orientations, socioeconomic classes and religions experience IPV. However, such violence has a disproportionate effect on communities of color and other marginalized groups. In addition, during the pandemic, the added stress of balancing work, child care and children’s education has led to a rise in child abuse. And with children not going to school and families postponing routine medical care, much less mandated reporting is taking place.

This is a plea to please check in with your friends, neighbors, acquaintances, people with young children and the elderly, and if something doesn’t sound right, ask questions. If someone is depressed or very anxious, there may be more going on. Encourage them to ask for help. Every voice makes a difference

I was recently inspired by Evanescence’s new song, “Use My Voice.” (It's four minutes long and well worth a listen.) We cannot let others speak for us, or for anyone. Please spread awareness of DV and child abuse. Let others know you’re a safe space to talk. Then pass on these resources.

Here are some resources to reach out to if you are in need:

This video is longer than 30 seconds, but we think it's worth it.

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Elisa Schmitz
Oh, Kathy Ast-Kutzbach , I have goosebumps. I had not yet heard this song, and I absolutely love it. So powerful. But even more, I love what you wrote here. Thank you for using your voice to draw attention to this VERY important subject that is affecting so many right now. As someone who has experienced this, I am very grateful to you for helping those in need. Love you!
I know people affected by this. It’s very real. Hang in there, peeps. 🙏🏼
Great information.

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