COVID-19 Has Created A Domestic Violence Problem — Here’s How You Can Help Right Now

Photographed by Alexandra Gavillet.
Within the COVID-19 outbreak, another epidemic runs rampant posing the threat of serious harm or even death. Mounting data is illuminating a rise in domestic violence emerging out of the conditions created by the pandemic. Quarantine becomes synonymous with the feeling of being “trapped” for people experiencing abuse who now have fewer ways to escape the harm inflicted by their abusers.
To combat this and create awareness, former Glamour editor-in-chief Cindi Leive is organizing a virtual anti-domestic violence benefit in conjunction with The Meteor journalists. According to Leive's initiative, "Night of Solidarity" was created to support survivors of abuse and raise funds for prevention organizations through the Together For Her campaign to address the devastating consequence of increased partner violence amid stay-at-home orders to quell the coronavirus outbreak. Refinery29 is a partner of this event and will be streaming it on our YouTube channel on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET.
The event will be hosted by Tamron Hall with special appearances by Connie Britton, Ilana Glazer, Julianne Moore, Amanda Nguyen, Keke Palmer, Peter Sarsgaard, Gloria Steinem, and many others. There will also be performances by MILCK, Gloria Gaynor, Beulahbelle, and Angelique Kidjo. Among the high-profile names in attendance, a universal message resonates: we must stop the rise in domestic violence happening right now. Specifically, the event calls to action changes to Phase 4 of the U.S. Stimulus Package that will directly benefit survivors of at-home assault.
The coronavirus outbreak has exposed many vulnerabilities and systemic shortcomings in how the United States supports people. The latest coronavirus relief plan, the fourth so far, hopes to address some of them, including support for people experiencing domestic violence. The bill, which Democrats are calling the Heroes Act, earmarks $100 million for the Violence Against Women Prevent and Prosecution Programs which targets opportunities for systemic and legislative improvements, supports essential services for those experiencing abuse, and reaches underserved communities. 
Social distancing and stay-at-home orders can present a serious challenge for people living with abusive partners, family members, or others. Not only is it more time spent in close quarters meaning a greater opportunity for verbal or emotional abuse as well as physical violence, but it means less opportunity to get out. 
Prior to the pandemic, statistics surrounding domestic abuse from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) report that 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. Nearly 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience severe intimate partner violence or sexual violence. While it may be too early to know the true impact that the coronavirus has on these numbers, early reports show an increase in total domestic violence-related calls. Some cities have seen a decrease in calls which suggests the potentially more dangerous outcome that people experiencing abuse have fewer opportunities to safely call police, according to the Marshall Project.
In addition to the Night of Solidarity, Together For Her has many ways you can help support and show your support. You can donate to their U.S. and international funds, create awareness by sharing the #WhenHomeIsntSafe hashtag on social media, and sign the Safe from the Start petition.
If you are experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or TTY 1-800-787-3224 for confidential support.
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