Reports of domestic violence have skyrocketed during COVID-19. Domestic violence can take many forms, but all are harmful to your mental well-being—and sometimes your physical safety. If you are a victim of domestic violence, you can empower yourself by taking steps to stay safe, even during this time of unprecedented uncertainty.
Create a Safety Plan
Create a plan for what to do if you need to leave your home to stay safe from domestic violence. Because options are more limited during this pandemic, you’ll want to find out ahead of time where you can stay—is there a friend or family member who could put you up for a while, or does your local shelter have room?
You’ll also want to keep a small grab-and-go bag with a few basic necessities in case you have to leave quickly. A change of clothes, some money, your medications, any important documents, and your phone should be included in this type of kit.
Stay in Touch
Even during social distancing, make an effort to stay in touch with the people who form your support network. People who care about you can provide support, encouragement, and advice. Because so much of our social connections are happening online during the coronavirus outbreak, be careful what you share on social media if you suspect that your online activity may be being monitored by the person abusing you.
Reach Out for Help
If you are a victim of domestic violence, there are resources in place to support you. Call Womenspace (541-485-6513 or 1-800-281-2800) or the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233) or use their live chat to talk with an advocate online. Our mental health professionals can also help you to feel supported and heard at this time.
If you are experiencing domestic violence or feel unsafe at home, you can protect yourself by creating a plan, staying in touch with your support network, and seeking professional help to deal with your situation. Because of the many shelter in place orders, it’s more important than ever that you feel safe and protected within the walls of your own home.