When it was announced that Australia would be going into lockdown as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, many of us were able to remain safely at home with our families. And because of this, we have (relatively) successfully flattened the curve and restrictions are being slowly being relaxed. Although the restrictions being relaxed might not always be a good thing.
But for some of us, being at home is anything but safe, and domestic violence rates are now on the rise.
Why Aren’t We Talking About Domestic Violence?
Since the start of 2020, 17 women have been killed as a result of domestic violence in Australia. In 2019, 62 women were killed and 71 in 2018. Destroy The Joint, via Facebook and Twitter, regularly update this number as new deaths are reported in an attempt to bring visibility to an issue that is regularly silenced. On average, one woman is killed every nine days and one man is killed every 29 days in Australia at the hands of a family member, or a current/former partner.
Over the past two weeks, four women have been killed as a result of domestic violence in Australia. That’s double the current national average. Four women! In two weeks! Why are more people not talking about this? How many more people have to die before domestic violence is taken seriously??
The month of May is Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month, and more needs to be done to keep domestic violence survivors visible, heard, and safe. The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in so many victims being silenced and unable to access support services, causing them to feel even more isolated and cut off.
It has been reported that perpetrators are using coronavirus as an abuse tactic to keep their partners at home. They tell their partners that they have the virus, which means that no one can come over, and they can’t leave. The director of the Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre, Dr Kate Fitz-Gibbon, told The Quicky that it’s “so important for services to innovate and to think about the different ways they can keep victims visible and attended to at this time”.
Where Are The Leaders?
This is bullshit this has to stop, fix our system that is failing domestic violence victims. Stop accepting this Australia. We can do more! https://t.co/nV35z3ZyRu
— Shelley Ware (@ShelleyWare) May 12, 2020
Women are more likely to experience domestic violence compared to men, and the number of deaths of women at the hands of a male partner are higher than those recorded for male victims.
However, domestic violence affects people of all genders, sexualities, nationalities, and all should be heard and reported. Imagine if governments and world leaders took domestic violence death tolls as seriously as they take coronavirus death tolls. Wide scale news coverage every time someone died, announcements from the PM continuously.
What if they actively tried to flatten the curve of domestic violence related deaths, just as they have done with coronavirus? We would live in a very different world, that’s for sure. It’s time action was taken.
Image Source: Unsplash, Michelle Ding (@michelleding)