More than 10 million women and men in the country survive domestic violence on a daily basis, according to statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), and many DV organizations say they are nervous about self-isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on those trapped in violent homes, according to news reports.
Without COVID-19 anxiety, the numbers were already distressful, especially for women of color. According to a 2018 report from the Department of Justice (DOJ), 41 to 60 percent of Asian and Pacific Islander women have reported abuse; 37.5 percent and 23.4 percent of Native American and Latinx women, respectively, said they were victimized by a partner at some point in their lives. Black women experience domestic violence 35 percent more than White women and 2.5 times the rate of other women of color.
When intimate partner violence intersects with race, the current health and economic crises can easily magnify. “Some research has suggested that Black women don’t report because they realize that it will impact job opportunities for Black men,” Rhonda V. Sharpe, founder of WISER Policy, a research center for women of color, told Essence in an article published March 25. Ruth Glenn, CEO of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, told Vox in a March 26 article that “abusers now have another means by which they can abuse someone.”
For immigrant survivors, the Tahirih Justice Center noted that “Threats to kick a victim out of the home, deny access to health care or restrict financial resources will be much more potent if the victim has no access to work.”
The New York Times recently published a story in collaboration with The Fuller Project, which said that spending weeks shut inside with an abuser can affect one’s physical and emotional well-being. “We know that any time an abusive partner may be feeling a loss of power and control—and everybody’s feeling a loss of power and control right now—it could greatly impact how victims and survivors are being treated in their homes,” Katie Ray-Jones, chief executive of the National Domestic Violence Hotline told the Times. Jones said that she expects to see an increase in calls during this time.
For resources and websites that offer help to victims and survivors of domestic abuse:
- Futures Without Violence: A health and social justice nonprofit that works to heal those traumatized by violence and to create healthy families and communities free of violence tomorrow.
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: A 24/7/365 operation that is confidential, free of cost and provides life saving tools and immediate support to enable victims to find safety and live lives free of abuse.
- National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV): Creates a social, political and economic environment where violence against women no longer exists.
- Tahirih Justice Center: Through direct services, policy advocacy, and training and education, the center protects immigrant women and girls.
- Safe Horizon: Provides support, prevents violence and promotes justice for victims of crime and abuse, their families and communities.