It does not matter the wholesomeness of your family or the wealth of your household, but domestic abuse can emerge in any home. In the past year while dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more couples spent increasingly longer times together, working from home and schooling the children while in isolation.
While this scenario may represent a picture of a seemingly tight-knit family, it also can trigger violent outbursts leading to assault, injury and fear. It is a potential recipe for abuse. And authorities in the past several months have reported increased numbers of domestic abuse cases among U.S. households, partially attributed to COVID-19.
Protect yourself, get legal help
Close quarters do not always translate into close couples. Minor disagreements may escalate into heated arguments, violence and a marriage collapsing in an avalanche.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention disclosed that 25% of all women and 10% of all men have been victims of violence or stalking by spouses or intimate partners in their lifetime. Also, more than 43 million women and 38 million men were victims of psychological aggression by a partner.
Here are some crucial steps that domestic abuse victims must take:
- Immediately seek help. Contact authorities and seek temporary living arrangements whether at the home of a family member or friend or even domestic abuse shelter. And do not disclose to your estranged spouse where you are staying.
- Get the court to issue a domestic abuse injunction against your spouse. This restraining order may require your spouse to stay away from your home and have no contact with you.
- Decline all requests by your abuser to return to him or her. You need to protect yourself and your children. And you must avoid returning to such a volatile situation.
- Talk with a sensitive, empathetic and experienced family law attorney to determine your legal options. You need a strong ally, and you will get one.
With rising tensions in households, domestic abuse remains a possibility. And maybe COVID-19 is just an excuse hiding within a troubled marriage. Still, you must protect yourself.