Being stuck at home is scary, when you're trying to survive abuse.
The pressure of financial worries, job upheaval, kids home from school non-stop, and increased contact 24/7 can create a perfect storm. If you're living with the risk of domestic violence, or suffering from psychological, emotional or verbal abuse -- being stuck at home can become unbearable, or even dangerous.
It's important to have a safety plan in mind, and you might need to adjust your current safety plan due to changes in schedules and quarantines.
Here are five practical, simple ways for you and your children to stay safer if you're stuck at home in an abusive environment while the world is shutting down due to the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Time to GRAY ROCK. That means be as boring an uninteresting as a pebble. Don't make ultimatums. Don't share big announcements. Don't rock the boat if you can avoid doing so.
- Focus on the kids. Make it an adventure for them if you can. Break out the board games. Build a blanket fort in the dining room. Curl up together and watch a classic movie.
- Reduce electronics use. If you're spending a lot more time with your abuser, now is a good time to keep your phone in your pocket. Avoid doing things online that could be observed and cause tension with your abuser.
- Slow down. You may feel tremendous pressure right now. Do whatever you can to take the gift of reconnection with your kids and other safe people. Give yourself permission to breathe, soak in a hot bath, read a book, etc.
- Recenter on faith. Fill your heart and mind with encouraging things to think about. Listen to a chapter from Psalms, play soothing scripture meditations on your phone, etc. Do things that bring you a sense of calm and peace in the chaos.
If you, or someone you care about, needs safety planning and extra support during this season of uncertainty - don't hesitate to call the NATIONAL DV HOTLINE: 1-800-799-7233, and check out their outstanding resources for safety plans.
It's a great idea to check with your local Family Justice Center to see what services are still being offered in your immediate area, as well.