Abusive Behaviors During the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic

by Dr. Amber D. Gray

Recently, I attended a remote conference on what victims of domestic violence are going through during the coronavirus pandemic. I was shocked and astonished at some of the horrific ways in which batterers have come up with to terrorize their intimate partners. In one instance, we were told that the batterer would return home from work, and cough around the house. After doing so, the abuser would say, “I guess we are all going to get coronavirus.” Another story that was told, was that an abuser grabbed their partner by the hair, dragged them outdoors, and made them lick the railings outside of their apartment. They then brought the victim back indoors and stated, “I guess you will die of the coronavirus.” One final, and most disturbing instance, was when a batterer told their child, “It is your fault the world has come to an end. You badness created the coronavirus, we are all going to die, because of you.” The child was 5. These terrible, horrific types of abuse are in many homes across America. As victim services providers, we must be cognizant of what our populations are going through. Victim advocacy and services is population-based health management and public health centered. Our skill sets must adapt to the landscape presented to us. As victim services providers, it is a benefit to all, if one takes part in a course on violence amidst the pandemic or a conference, or any other additional training and education, to be able to better serve ones population. As empowered providers, we can and will make a difference in the lives of individuals going through less than acceptable circumstances.

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