During the covid-19 pandemic and the several lockdowns worldwide, many surveys have shown a significant increase of domestic abuse since January 2020. Yes, we can all agree that all the restrictive measures have severly affected our mental health but as Jacky Mulveen, project manager of Women’s Empowerment and Recovery Educator says “Covid doesn’t make an abuser”. This phenomenon is so wide that has even a name, “Shadow pandemic”.
Here are some datas to give you a general overview on the increasing phenomenon during the pandemic:
+ 300% in Hubei, China
+25% in Argentina
+30% in Cyprus
+33% in Singapore
+50% in Brazil.
+200% calls for domestic abuse in the UK
+73% calls for domestic abuse in Italy
(Source: American Journal of Emergency Medicine and the United Nations group U.N Women)
WARNING: sensitive contents and images.
Here comes the hardest part for me: sharing my personal experience to help others who might find themselves in this type of situation. I won’t give any specific detail about the person who physically and verbally abused me because i haven’t reported the domestic violence.
First of all, the question that pop ups in everyone’s mind when i tell them what happened to me is “why did you stay? Couldn’t you leave?” and everytime this question would come up i wanted to scream ” IT’S NOT THAT FUCKING EASY”.
Imagine finding yourself knowing a person for a long time, this same person gives you attention, love, affection and makes really big statement about their feelings for you and the endless love that they feel for you, then one day in an ordinary fight they slap you. Your brain and heart have really an hard time processing rationally what happened. At first, i thought “why would they do that? Do i deserve it?”. Your brain can’t accept this kind of pain and it makes any type of excuses to justify the other person’s violent act. The thing is, that if something like this happens, a “simple” slap in the face, you should rationally run away as far as possible from that person, because the situation can only become worse and i’ve seen it and lived it.
Sometimes i feel ashamed, because i think to myself “You. A huge femminist, always on the line against any type of discrimination and violence allowed this person to stay and physically and verbally abuse you. you must be crazy” but then i try to not be so hard on myself and to feel empathy for myself.
A slap wasn’t enough to leave, their hands on my neck, the bruises on my chest, neck and face weren’t enough to leave nor was it them spitting on me during an argument or throwing water at me or picking me from the hair while screaming how worthless of a woman i was. I was blind, completly fucking blind. One day this person was the perfect partner and the other day would become this horrific person.
If i close my eyes i can still hear their words echo. “no one would believe you, you’re crazy, you made me do this, i’ve never done something like that before,you led me into it and you’re trying to destroy my life, it’s not that big of a deal, i’m not leaving you because you are completely alone, you suck, you are a disgusting woman, go kill yourself, if you try to report me i’ll drug you in your sleep so that they would think that you’re just a crazy junkie, you are a whore and so on.” Leaving this relatioship was one of the hardest thing that i had to do in my life, and it was also one of the most traumatic experience that probably i won’t ever forget.
Now you may ask yourself why didn’t i report the abuse. Again, it’s not that easy, because the system won’t give enough help to the victims but rather blaming them in a lot of cases and let’s not forget about the slugshiness of bureaucracy. At the end of the day it’s their word against mine.
After these photos of my body after some fights with this person, all that i can say is: RUN AWAY AT THE FIRST RED FLAG if you can.
“if they verbally abuse you, they will physically abuse you, if they physically abuse you, they will kill you. It’s not a matter of if but when” by lieutenant Joe Kenda.
This is me. A part of the percentage of abused victims during the 2021 Covid-19 pandemic.
This is my “Shadow pandemic”.