Quaran-tame: Behind the Doors of a Lockdown
The conversation around the possible rise in cases of domestic violence stirred when the concept of a world-wide lockdown was still embryonic, and that possibility came true with the number of cases hitting its all-time high. Strict rules of quarantine were imposed to isolate and protect people from the unmapped identity of the novel virus and the extent of damage that it could inflict. The spread of fear and anxiety paralleled the spread of the virus and didn’t give ample time to authorities to envisage the concealed threats that the lockdown entailed.
Because of our heteronormative and patriarchal pattern of thoughts, we are engineered to think of a woman as the only victim (which is no doubt mostly the case), but we must not overlook crime against men, children, and people belonging to the LQBTQ community. The nature of a crime cannot be weighed in accordance with who is the abuser and who is on the receiving end.
NUMBERS DON’T LIE
NCW (National Commission for Women) received 23,722 complaints about crimes against women, 5,294 cases were filed under the right to live with dignity clause (in simplistic terms they were all domestic violence cases). Keeping in mind that these were the ones that were reported, many others remained just neighborhood gossip. Statistically, this kind of escalation in numbers was unprecedented and can be traced back to the necessary evil of a nation-wide lockdown.
The United Nations prophesied a 20% increase in cases of domestic violence around the world in the lieu of what they called a ‘shadow pandemic’. The numbers soared as the virus straddled the world on the incredulity of its genuineness, and were replaced from prognosis to materiality.
VIOLENCE: DRIVEN BY RAGE OR REASON
Domestic violence, clinically christened as Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) takes place when an intimate partner physically, sexually, mentally, psychologically, and financially abuses the other partner through the use of a pattern of dominating behaviors, duress, or threats.
The question raised here is what causes someone to inflict such coercive practice towards someone they are close to, the answer is not a methodically thought upon revenge but the firing up of nerves that originate from the precinct of rage and aggression. It is a universally acknowledged truth that violent behavior to control and protect is engineered in our genome which has successfully saved our species in the past from danger and hunger, but somehow it leaks from our consciousness to a safe space where it is not required. Root causes of domestic violence can be; learned behavior if someone was abused as a child, poor coping skills, the demand to control, substance abuse and addiction, low self-esteem, and umpteen others.
THE WALLS THAT HEARD
Lockdown aggravated violence as the abuser remained home 24/7, and on top of it all, it came with a complimentary menace of financial anxiety, incompetent training of technology to carry out work from home, and the iffy state of a novel disease. All the more reasons to get it all out on the frightening being who slaves all day just to endure more bruises. Such lily-livered partners who steam in the muck of low self-esteem, distrust, and wrongdoings put their victim in a state of trauma from which they can never escape.
A sundry of such cases must have gone unreported, such as; a dependent wife lacking financial independence, a child who understands that it happens to everyone, a queer person who fears being outed; all in the name of venting a monster’s anger with a microorganism that plucked a few strings. This ‘Between Scylla and Charybdis’ situation caused the victims of domestic violence to bear a few rather than being homeless when a pandemic was raging outside.
SMALL STEPS AND THE LEAP THAT CAN FOLLOW
While Help hotlines were overwhelmed with the Covid-19 crisis, there are still those that work solely to help out anyone facing domestic violence especially when the predicament is more severe. There are apps such as SHEROES that provide survivors with counselors, financial self-help, emotional self-care, attorneys for legal counseling, and a cooperation network to report the case to authorities. Numerous non-profit foundations work to extend a helping hand to survivors of abuse at home in order to empower them, to make them see that tolerance is not the only solution, and to disparage the taboo that reporting a crime will aggravate it only further. The virus did equal damage with its presence inside the body and its shadow in the mind.
A bird leaves a nest when its wings are stronger enough to soar against the current, in the same manner, we need a system that can strengthen a victim’s wing to take the leap and see the horizons of the possibility of happiness and hope that will grace their future too.
Featured image: Good Housekeeping