How To Help If You Think Someone Is Being Abused In Quarantine

Al Donato
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How To Help If You Think Someone Is Being Abused In Quarantine

Content warning: story contains descriptions of intimate partner violence, physical and emotional abuse. If your website history is being monitored, here’s how to clear it on most browsers. Should you be logged into a Google account, here’s how to wipe your activity

“I’m not going to lie to you, I feel like my ex could be out right now.” 

Karrie Lynn Dymond isn’t sure if her ex-boyfriend is still in prison. She lives in Ontario’s Durham region, but for her safety Dymond can’t share exactly where she’s weathering the COVID-19 pandemic. Her ex-boyfriend’s whereabouts are unknown to her and his last sighting terrified the 45-year-old. He was driving with a loaded gun in the trunk of his car, minutes away from her doorstep, and later arrested on drug and theft charges. With quarantine keeping Canadians at home, Dymond says she’d rather find shelter elsewhere than stay where he could easily track her. 

“My phone’s on 24/7. If it rings right now [with a call from Durham Regional police], I don’t know what I’m going to do,” she told HuffPost Canada, noting that she’s asked Victim Services to inform her if he was out as part of prison outbreak prevention early releases for non-violent offenders. 

Pressure to isolate at home is creating agonizing dilemmas for domestic violence survivors like Dymond, as well as Canadians currently quarantined with abusive partners. They are overwhelmingly women abused by men, living in already unsafe households that are tipping towards intensifying danger for themselves, as well as any children present. 

Domestic violence reports are surging worldwide due to the pandemic, causing the United Nations to ask governments to respond with urgency. Drawing on early reports from China and France, experts anticipated survivors would be at risk for more violence as an abuser can exert more power in these circumstances and conflicts may escalate. 

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