Many couples have found that the pandemic-caused lockdowns revived their relationships. Because there is no office to head to every morning and no social events to attend, lovers now have more time to spend with one another. They managed to share household chores and childcare responsibilities, they watched movies from their living room, played video games or board games together, and were able to appreciate their lives despite the global crisis.
Domestic Violence Cases Rise During Lockdowns
However, not everyone found the lockdown a chance to bond. To some couples, it brought out issues in their relationships that have been hidden by daily routines and habits. In New York, after the state lifted the shelter in place orders, dozens of couples sought to legally end their marriage. More had to go to counseling to fix the damage that the lockdown brought to their respective relationships.
There was also, unfortunately, an increase in domestic violence. In April 2020, reports of domestic violence across New York were up 30% compared to the year before. This pushed the office of Governor Andrew Cuomo to address the issue and come up with solutions to protect victims.
It is not just happening in New York. It happened in China where the first lockdown was enforced. It then happened in Italy, Spain, France, United Kingdom, and the United States. The violence followed the virus wherever it went.
Legal Action Against Domestic Violence
Victims should seek help from authorities if they experience domestic violence. During the pandemic, safe havens have been opened in order to separate victims from their abusers during the lockdown. The pandemic has added numerous obstacles for those who want to leave their marriages because of assault and harassment. The restrictions are making it more difficult to move out of their home, for example. In many places, courts have to go through a backlog and all legal procedures are moving at a slower rate.
However, these barricades should not dissuade victims from seeking a way out. Aside from divorce, the law will protect them from their abusers through immediate legal actions such as arrests and restraining orders.
Victims should also approach an experienced personal injury lawyer to ask for advice. They may be able to file claims against their abuser with a civil suit alleging intentional torts of assault and/or battery as well as intentional infliction of emotional distress. With a lawsuit, the victim will be able to collect damages in the form of monetary compensation they can use to start a new life.
The damages that will be paid by the defendant will be based on the cumulative physical and emotional impact of the abuse over a certain period.
Breaking the Cycle of Abusive Relationship
The abuser in an abusive relationship typically manipulates the victim to the point that they can no longer trust themselves. They are isolated from family and friends, gaslit and lied to, and controlled financially that leaving is no longer an option. Getting out of an abusive relationship is a challenge, and staying away for good is an even bigger problem.
A number of victims get out and eventually return to their abusers, especially if their partner promises to change. Many survivors do not want the relationship to end. They just want the battery or manipulation to stop. If their abuser claims that they have changed, the victim would believe them and continue their relationship.
If there is one silver lining coming out of lockdowns, it is this: the shelter in place orders have stopped victims from returning to their abusers. Women who managed to get out of their abusive relationships in the past year said that quarantining has helped tremendously.
The lockdowns have forced victims to stay in place, and their abusers could not get to them, either. There is little chance of a reconnection with both parties stuck inside. In those cases, the lockdown was a blessing because there was no fear that they will encounter their abuser
With restrictions being lifted from state to state as vaccines are rolled out, victims report feeling unease. Victims are encouraged to consult with a mental health professional to help them cope with their experience under the control of their abuser and to guide them in their new lives.
The pandemic has tormented many people in abusive relationships. In many cases, the lockdowns exacerbated the physical and emotional abuse they experienced. The courts closing also meant that legal processes, including divorce, progress slower than usual. However, it should not deter victims from getting out. Help is always available to those who need it.