Sexual, Physical Abuse on the Rise During COVID-19 Lockdown

In a matter of months, the coronavirus pandemic has put people’s mental health at risk. The pandemic is causing widespread despair, feelings of vulnerability and affecting mental health even in the fittest of people.

Mental health is a significant component of human wellness and welfare but the COVID-19 outbreak is putting its long-lasting effects on the human psyche. According to a paper published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), the researchers from Massachusetts have found that intimate partner violence (IPV) is exceeding to the next level.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in every four individuals in the world suffers from some kind of mental disorder at one point in their life. Whereas, one in three women has experienced physical or sexual IPV that can be referred to as the abuse or aggression that occurs between two intimate partners or in a close relationship such as former spouses or dating partners.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW)

The current COVID-19 pandemic has become responsible for the worsening of not only IPV but also emotional and physical abuse such as hitting, kicking, or using another type of physical force to hurt the partner. Another very harmful type of abuse is sexual abuse where the partner forced to indulge in an unwanted sex act, sexual touching, or a non-physical sexual event for example sexting.

Source: Centers for Disease Control And Prevention (CDC)

As per the recent report, around 22 emergency shelter houses have been united against domestic violence and sexual abuse. But the problem has arisen and the main reason behind exceeding the cases of abuse is that the shelter homes are facing the shortage of beds. So that, victims have no place to go for help during COVID-19 pandemic that has already sickened more than 10.7 million people around the globe with nearly 600,000 fatality cases, according to data compiled by mixed resources including Worldometer and Coronavirus Resource Center, Johns Hopkins University (JHU).

Source: Worldometer

The BMJ has also reached to 10 shelter homes, asking for helping the victims but all in vain as they are all facing the problem of shortage of beds. IPV victims are also facing several other problems such as homelessness, unemployment, and physical and psychological strains due to social stressors such as negligence and rejection.

Devastating After Effects of Abuse on Mental Health of Survivors

IVP has become a significant public health issue during the COVID-19 outbreak and it also put

harmful effects on the mental health of the victims as the most of them have experienced adverse physical and mental health outcomes, including a higher risk of chronic disease, substance use, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and risky sexual behaviors. Other negative health outcomes included poor heart health, weak digestive, and reproductive system. It also weakens the bones, muscles, and nervous system.

Source: CDC

BMJ Providing Facilities for Those Under Threat of Abuse

The BMJ is working not only for IPV victims but also for transgenders as they are much scared to go even to a shelter home due to their gender identity.

Secondly, BMJ is also providing care for immigrant victims who are still doubtful to go towards the police or get help from the law.

The BMJ reported: “As we hear from many survivors who feel uneasy even after reaching a shelter, “safe from my partner” does not equal “safe here”: distance from the abuser is but one aspect of a layered picture”.

So, orders like ‘stay at home’ can be a threat for the victims to stay in a dangerous situation. Before the lockdown, almost every victim had somehow found the opportunity to file a case against the IVP, or at least they could file a protective order with the police. But, such options are not easily available due to the lockdown.

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