By Allison Summers, assistant director of education and leadership initiatives
As the world embarks on a journey to better understand the current realities of social distancing and shelter-in-place orders, it is important as a community to better understand what this can mean for those impacted by unhealthy relationships, domestic violence and sexual assault.
Safety is of utmost importance during these times, for more reasons than one. It is important to check in, digitally, with friends and family during the pandemic and remind each other that you are not alone.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Give Financial Support
In this uncertain time, shelters and hotlines are facing unprecedented situations and are considered essential businesses in most communities. One way to support them is to sustain their immediate needs through monetary donations. If you are in a place where you can comfortably give to such organizations, this is the best way to support.
Identify Community Needs
Secondly, look to those specific organizations within your community to see what they are sharing as their top needs during this time. Rather than potentially taking away valuable resources such as cleaning supplies, toiletries and nonperishables in bulk from someone who might need them immediately, reach out to your local shelter to identify if time, treasure, resources or talent are what it needs right now.
Educate Yourself on the Current Challenges Survivors are Facing
Review what industry leaders in domestic and interpersonal violence are sharing on their websites and social media profiles. The National Domestic Violence Hotline has shared survivor experiences and safety planning information based on calls they have received during the COVID-19 pandemic. Abusers are using the pandemic to further isolate their victims and gain more power and control over them. Social distancing, resource scarcity and fear will create even more isolating situations for survivors.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH) provides lifesaving tools and immediate support to empower victims and survivors to find safety and live free of abuse. NDVH also provides support to friends and family members who are concerned about a loved one.
- Resources and help can be found by calling 800-799-SAFE (7233) or online chatting at thehotline.org.
- Staying Safe During COVID-19
- Path to Safety (including “Safety While Living with an Abusive Partner”)
- The Importance of Self-Care
RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, help survivors and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice.
- Visit online.rainn.org to chat or call 800-656-HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member who can provide confidential crisis support.
Loveisrespect.org offers confidential education, support and advocacy to teens and young adults, as well as their concerned friends and family members, regarding healthy relationships. Its staff can also share information for support networks and resources within your local community!
Text “LOVEIS” to 22522 or call 866-331-9474 to be connected with a peer advocate.
IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW IS IN AN UNSAFE SITUATION, REACH OUT FOR SUPPORT VIA ONE OF THE CONFIDENTIAL RESOURCES ABOVE.