If you are a violent, controlling narcissistic psychopath who controls every aspect of your partner’s life with a fist of iron, the lockdown is a good time for you. If you asked those with the profile above, what would be an ideal scenario for them, having their victim trapped with no way out or access to help, would be high on the list.
In the UK, the domestic violence helpline is 0808 2000 247. In Australia, the national family violence counselling service is on 1800 737 732. In the US, the domestic violence hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Other international helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org
This is the situation facing many women across the world at present. For balance, we must say that men are also abused but we all know that the vast majority of these cases involve women as the victims. Abusers and controllers have never had it so good as police forces are diverting their attention to enforcing the lockdown everywhere. There are some initiatives running in various countries to help those who can access help but I believe there is a “silent” majority who cannot access this help or for whatever reason decide not to. Others are living in fear of their lives if they decide to reach out. Some stay hoping that things will change. Some, unfortunately, will stay believing that they are at fault or fear change. The facts are that calls to hotlines dealing with domestic violence and child abuse have vastly increased as the world goes into quarantine.
I read with interest some of the comments associated with various articles on the subject and the general theme was asking the question ” why do these women stay?”, when they consciously know that they are in peril. A good question that has no simple answer. I have seen in my practice the evidence that women are often “under the spell” of their abuser and are sometimes trapped in a process of trauma bonding, where a victim becomes addicted to the small amount of “good” interaction they have with their abuser and also look to them for comfort after the abuse. Many of these women has been conditioned by their abuser to believe that their abuser knows best what they need. Others will stay because they have children or are so tightly controlled by their abuser monitoring social media and their phones, that they see no way out and “accept” that this is as good as it gets for them. Many are trapped in financial dependence.
Leslie Morgan Steiner was in “crazy love” — that is, madly in love with a man who routinely abused her and threatened her life. Steiner tells the dark story of her relationship, correcting misconceptions many people hold about victims of domestic violence, and explaining how we can all help break the silence. Here in this video, this describes why it is not so easy to just say “why didn’t she leave”. She looks at the process that leads up to violence and abuse: charm, isolate, threat of abuse and abuser sorrow, regular abuse and potential death.
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That was a very good TED talk. I learned the cycle in law school from a few Atlanta police officers who deal with domestic violence. They came to speak. I still don’t think they understood the cycle. They just spoke about what they had seen and been told. I know that cycle. It is the same for emotional abuse…sometimes more hideous because it is so easily hidden, yet so damaging…and law enforcement will not come to your rescue.
Anyway, I was reading the other day that reported domestic violence is up here in the US by 30% since the quarantine. Imagine the unreported figure.
Thank you, Jennifer. A very relevant comment. Shocking to hear about such a rise: I think it is just the same in Europe.