Last month was Domestic Violence Awareness Month, but really, every month we should be raising awareness for survivors and current victims of domestic violence. It’s especially prominent in this insane season of life we are all experiencing right now. Given the nature of COVID-19, the lockdowns, the isolation, the inability to travel, and all the other madness, there are people right this very second who are not safe at home.

Think about that. Imagine the very place you try to avoid is the very place you are spending most if not all of your time right now. I personally and thankfully do not face fear, pain, or abuse in my home, but so many do. And right now, they are silenced more than ever. And even more troubling, are living day in and day out with their silencers.

There are several signs of an abusive partner that I previously mentioned on social media (post linked here), and I want to highlight some of these, especially if you or someone you know is in a toxic situation right now.

1.       Telling you that you never do anything right.

2.       Showing extreme jealousy of your friends, seeing it as time spent away from them.

3.       Preventing or discouraging you from spending time with friends, family members, or peers. Insulting, demeaning, or shaming you, especially in front of others.

4.       Preventing you from making your own decisions.

5.       Intimidating you through threatening looks or actions.

Some of these actions may come as a surprise. Some may not. Some may escalate to physical violence. Some may result in emotional and/or verbal abuse. Some may be considered normal. Some may be causing you to think to yourself, wait, I fall into a few of these categories. Whatever the case may be, domestic violence is at an all-time high right now and we as a community must continue to raise awareness about it.

So what can we do to help those in need?

Check in on those you love. Even if you can’t physically see them right now, give them a call or a text. Ask how they are truly doing. Let them know you are a safe and confidential zone. Tell them to say “code” words like “broccoli” or a sentence, “I’m going to cook broccoli for dinner tonight”, if they are in trouble. May sound bogus, but it can work, especially if an abuser is within earshot.

Look into volunteering at a local rape crisis/domestic violence center. My local nonprofit has recently added a chat function to their website to assist those in need. These organizations are still in need of volunteers for all of the virtual work continuing to be done. The simple act of answering phone calls on the crisis line can change someone’s life.  

If donating time is not something you can do right now, donating money is just as essential. Many organizations have lost funding or have received significantly less this year due to the pandemic. They are also gearing up for the holidays, trying to provide clients with some sort of normalcy with regards to gifts for their kids and warm clothing.

The support bead of life is vitally important all the time, but particularly right now. People are suffering within the four walls of their homes, without a soul knowing about it. It could be your neighbor. It could be your best friend. It could be your parent, sibling, child. However the support bead looks to you, make sure you have it. The smallest action can have the largest impact. And the next time you find yourself pondering about the insane state of the outside world, also consider those whose world is even more insane on the inside.

Hope everyone is staying safe and sane out there! And remember, as Glennon Doyle so beautifully states, “we can do hard things.”