Friday June 5th 2020

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Something I Said: Corona Crisis Increasing Domestic Abuse



Minnesota Governor Tim Walz didn’t grant license to physically, emotionally and mentally terrorize, issuing the order to stay home when you don’t have to be outdoors. Cowards, of course, consider this a gift dropped in their laps and, accordingly, the National Domestic Violence Hotline logged no less than 951 calls for help between March 10 and 24 alone.

Close quarters, it goes without saying, contribute to conflict in normal circumstances. People simply get on one another’s nerves when they’ve been cooped up too long. Crazy as true love can get, reasonably sane couples manage to drive each other nuts and not come to blows. It’s not even a strange idea that this widespread disaster might make them all the more mindful of how rare strong, healthy relationship is. It is not, by any means, a time to drag out a knee-jerk think-tank rationalization regularly leaned on to clinically assess batterers, “Oh, they have anger management issues.” Issues that somehow are managed and never arise when a partner’s hulking family member or friend happens to be around. It certainly isn’t a time for self-loathing sufferers to say, “it’s love.” Love doesn’t leave knots upside your head. It doesn’t put you in the emergency room. It sure doesn’t lay you out on a slab in the morgue. For good measure, tragedy on top of tragedy, there are amusing social media anecdotes of parents desperate for a corona cure if only to get kids out from under foot, back in school. Nothing’s cute, though, about reported instances of increased child abuse.

Minnesota Day One crisis center:
Text: 612-399-9995
Emergencies: 911

It is an international issue. Since the plague, domestic violence increased by almost 40% in a single week in Paris, a city that enjoys an historic reputation for knowing how to appreciate women: one romantic stereotype seriously debunked. French can women resort to code words at pharmacies to escape domestic violence during that country’s corona virus lockdown. They have this resource because on March 27, the Interior Minister put a strategy in place making pharmacies a lifeline for victims of domestic violence. Even, if the abuser is standing right there. The pharmacist calls the cops and they step in. This kind of thing is also being done in Spain (don’t hold your breath hoping the U.S. President follows suit). Right here, March 22nd, a few days before Gov. Walz announced the executive order, was a Sunday, usually the slowest day for Minnesota’s domestic abuse hotlines: about 25% more people called in. That number can’t help but have grown by now.

With the corona crisis, now, more than ever, domestic abusers have their victims cornered. Which makes it more important that sufferers show him or her the door. Or get out, themselves. Importantly, there are shelters available despite the virus.

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