Quarantine could lead to more domestic violence
By: Kaitlin Holley
Since COVID-19 has restricted most people to their homes, it could lead to an increase in domestic violence, according to Bethesda House executive director Dr. Alison Wood.
“The purpose of staying home is to keep safe but this is sadly not the case for everyone,” Wood said. “Unfortunately due to coronavirus and people being stuck at their homes domestic violence is something that is going to be even more of a major concern. If getting help before was tricky it becomes more challenging because you are in lockdown with an abuser 24/7. This makes a safety plan all the more important. Whether they chose to leave or stay we give victims a safety plan.”
Bethesda House individualizes safety plans according to each resident or who they talk to on the phone.
“Most people will choose for various reasons to stay or do something else,” Wood said. “The first thing is to limit words to the abuser. I want to process this by saying abuse is never the fault of the victim. The abuser is more about power and control over the victim and with that said you can never reason with the abuser.”
Wood said most experts are seeing the beginning of those who follow this trend and domestic violence is really on the rise with conditions like these.
“The flip side is that most shelters are trying to stay open but the intake slows a lot because there has to be a process of isolation for residents for 14 days,” Wood said. “That is really a challenge because even if you have beds available you have to wait until that family moves instead of making it a shared place until you can have more rooms. We have been open for four months and we have definitely been full more than we have not. To see those numbers knowing that we can’t take more in with the need so great it is hard. We are a non-profit organization and we receive no government funds whatsoever so canceling our fundraiser that was supposed to take place in April due to the coronavirus has been challenging.”
Fundraising efforts for Bethesda House have been postponed due to COVID-19.
“Bethesda House had planned to have a Purple Lotus Luncheon at the end of April,” Wood said. “Although we hope to stay at the original venue, Five Runs Farm, the event has been postponed. We will announce a new date when the COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted. We are so thankful for sponsors who have sent their donations in advance! These include Gitty Up-N-Go, Southeast Gas, and Wright Brothers.”
The significance of the Purple Lotus is unique to Bethesda House. Purple is the color of domestic violence and the lotus is a flower which blooms only after struggling to emerge from a murky environment.
“We think this speaks to the inspiration of our residents who emerge from trauma to embrace a beautiful life, just like the lotus,” Wood said. “Our signature fundraising efforts are called ‘Purple Lotus events,’ A second event planned is the Purple Lotus Fashion Show, scheduled for August 1, 2020, to be held at the Opp Depot. We hope that one will not have to be rescheduled. Anyone interested in the show should contact Tammy Adams for more information.”
Bethesda House works hand in hand with YAP and local law enforcement.
“We are so blessed in Covington County to have a collaboration with partners that includes law enforcement and YAP,” Wood said.
Those who might want to know more about Bethesda House can check out our website bethesdahouseofmercy.com or follow us on Facebook, Instagram @bethesdahouseal, and Twitter @BethesdaAL.
Bethesda House is a private not- for-profit organization – 501(c)(3) – and does not receive any government funds. There are two ways to make tax-deductible donations to Bethesda House:
Mail (make checks payable to Bethesda House)
PO Box 397, Andalusia, AL 36467 or through Venmo (Bethesda-House-1)
“There is help for abusers and that is something we fail to mention sometimes,” Wood said.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline number is: 1-800-799-7233. Both victims and abusers can call for assistance.
“In these times it’s even harder to communicate with others outside the home but if you can send a message to someone to let them know you need help delete that message and responses once you do,” Wood said. “It’s also good to tell victims when they communicate to not write them back and to have a code word and if you send that code word it means i need help right now. Sometimes they can’t call 911 and it is easier to contact a friend when you can with code.”