Time to self-isolate: “55” could be your safety number
The calls to self-isolate and to reduce contact are growing louder. New announcements are asking for greater community response, and with each message comes greater restrictions.
We get it, but what if self-isolation is being locked away with your abuser? For too many women and children this will be their harsh reality.
Our learnings from national disasters is that it triggers an increase in intimate violence; the victims of the violence are mostly women and children, whilst the perpetrators are mostly men.
This pandemic and our response mimic the practice of an intimate abuser.
Isolation is a Domestic Violence perpetrator’s friend
Maybe it commenced with him not being comfortable with your friends – that you should prioritise your relationship with him. That your extended family is too demanding.
It then becomes easier to say “no” to those social connections, and the invitations became fewer and further apart.
Friends don’t feel good in his company, but they can’t put their finger on their unease.
You managed his surveillance, his control. It’s more comforting to put it down to his “quirks”. A normalised pattern until the violence escalates to the point where there is no sidestepping the issue.
Epiphanies arrive at differing times, and by then those essential family and friends may be absent, strained or distant.
The decisions are hard, exhausting, should you stay or go, what is best for the children. Is it you? If you leave could you and your children be safer and lead more secure lives or are you being selfish?
The abuse has a pattern. There can be moments of calm and declarations of great love, heartfelt apologies, it is a toxic cycle and it’s a hell to break.
Imagine all of this and then you maybe in ‘lockdown’
To the woman who is reading this article and is scared.
There isn’t a magic wand – but please reach out.
1800Respect.org.au or 1800737732.
You can hide your search history, hide the page.
Apps can be helpful and disguised.
If possible, a hidden phone, a trusted friend.
I know of a grandmother who understood that the front blind down was a signal to get help.
The phone trick that may save your life
During self-isolation your phone is your safety device.
Women can phone 000, if they don’t respond to the operator, they are prompted to hit 55. This lets the operator know that they are in danger but can’t talk
This is a terrifying time and we need to increase the safety of all women and children. Some practical and immediate steps include.
Increases in violence and abuse targeted at women and children are predictable so let’s act swiftly.